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FIC: A Grieving Heart


FIC: A Grieving Heart
Author: NightRider
Fandom: Doctor Who
Beta: The lovely starxd_sparrow
Rating: PG-13 for angst
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Doctor Who. What a pity!
Characters: Tenth Doctor, Jack, Martha, and various others of my own creation
Spoilers: Vague discussion of all three seasons of the new Doctor Who
Summary: After the Last of the Time Lords, the Doctor isn’t coping well and decides he’s finished with…well, basically everything. Martha and Jack encountered a strange alien which has taken up residence in a child.

This is set immediately after the Last of the Time Lords. We're going to ignore the Titanic... :)

The TARDIS groaned to life around him as he pushed the controls to take him far away from anything resembling a humanoid life form. Only seconds ago Martha had announced that ‘this was her getting out.’ Sure, he could have made her stay, told her what she so desperately wanted to hear, but he couldn’t have forced the words out even if he’d wanted to. He wouldn’t be that cruel. He’d already done more than enough damage.

She’d left him long before she actually came to the TARDIS to make the formal announcement. It was the same way with Jack. He had clung to a small sliver of hope that Jack would choose to return to the TARDIS, but he knew long before Jack rejected his offer to join him again that his hope had only been in vain.

Jack had made a life for himself on Earth and he had a team that depended on him. Martha had a family that loved her and people that needed her. They would be both be just fine - no thanks to him.

The Doctor had…

Well it was best not to think about that.

A bone-deep exhaustion melted his muscles and liquefied his bones. Today he felt every second of his age. Oh, how he was weary. To remain standing upright at the controls of the TARDIS seemed to take a monumental amount of effort.

He heard the TARDIS rematerialize and felt absolutely no sense of excitement as he pushed through the door. The planet was not populated and devoid of nearly all life. It was time for the universe to get along without him. Given enough time, the people who had known him would die off, the rumors would bleed away into legends, and he would become nothing more than a ghost story that was told around a camp fire.

His feet left a trail of footprints in the black sand as he walked down the beach alone.


Yes, he was all alone now. The events of the last three years had proven that he needed to remain that way. Life with him was dangerous, but there was so much more to it than that. He somehow managed to destroy everything he touched.

He was tired of losing everyone he ever cared about. He was tired of fumbling his way through Time only to end up botching things up worse than they’d been before he arrived. He was tired of seeing the lasting effects of the Time War strewn about the universe. He was tired of watching innocent people killed and knowing there wasn’t anything he could do to stop it. He was tired of being the one that always had to make the hard decisions. He was tired of war, tired of fighting, and tired of losing.

He had accepted companions because he was weak. He fed off their zeal for life like some kind of parasite. Sure, he had showed them the universe and the wonder of time travel, but how many of them had ended up dead because of it? Or perhaps even a fate worse than death which had been Jack’s plight.

It was past time he walked away. He’d hung on for far too long. Seeing the Master reminded him of what he could have become, what he could have been. Thoughts of the Master sent a chill up his spine and he dropped to his knees in the sand. Had he honestly turned out any better than the Master?

He was supposed to move on. That’s what the Doctor did after all. He moved on, didn’t look back, never stopped. Moving on was another thing he was tired of.

He’d seen too much death, too much pain, and far too much suffering in his long life. He had always managed to cope. He was definitely adding coping to the list of things he was tired of.

“This is it,” he muttered as he watched the water retreat into the dark night and climb wearily toward the shore once more. He lay down on the beach, his arms splayed wide, sand chafing his exposed skin.

Even in his all consuming exhaustion he found no rest.


6 Months Later…

Jack had given his team a badly needed vacation after a particularly nasty encounter with a less than friendly alien. He was about to enjoy a quiet night with a bottle of bourbon and a lovely blonde when his phone rang.

He had seen Martha a couple of times since the Doctor left. He was glad he hadn’t known that she wasn’t going to continue to travel with him, because the thought of the Doctor being alone would have made it too hard for him to refuse the invitation. The Doctor should never have to be alone.

Martha had passed her exams with flying colors and was now practicing at a local hospital. She was making quite a name for herself, and Jack couldn’t help his heart from swelling with pride.

Tonight, Martha spent no time playing catch up as she briefly explained the strange behavior of a child that had come in to casualty displaying unusual symptoms and some theories she had as to their cause. She asked him to come to the hospital, and he couldn’t refuse.

Jack arrived at the hospital two hours later. Martha found him shamelessly flirting with the receptionist.

“We don’t have much time,” she stated as she grabbed his arm and started pulling him away.

“Nice to see you too,” he returned with a megawatt smile.

“They’ll be time for pleasantries later,” she said, but she couldn’t refrain from giving him a small smile. She led him to a locked unit and used her key card to open the door.

“Hold her down!” Martha yelled as she ran through the door. Jack noted that the child seemed to be in the throws of a seizure.

“I’m trying!” a nurse snapped as she grabbed the girl’s flailing legs.

“Can’t you do something?” Jack asked as he watched the child fight against the hands that were holding her against the bed. Martha injected a sedative into the girl’s exposed thigh and her body slumped within seconds as the fast acting medication took effect.

“Hope that doesn’t kill her,” Martha muttered as she deposited the used needle in the biohazard box. “I was trying not to medicate her until we knew what we were dealing with.”

“What exactly do you think we’re dealing with?” Jack asked curiously. He couldn’t keep from staring at the pale child. She couldn’t be more than five or six, he surmised.

“I’ll stay with her,” Martha announced to other medical staff that were lingering around the room. “I’m sure you all have other patients to take care of.”

A collective response of nods and ‘Sure, Dr. Jones’ were mumbled before Jack and Martha were alone in the small hospital room.

“Not that I don’t love catching up, but why’d you call me again? It looks like she was just having a seizure,” Jack stated. A seizure could have millions of causes, none of which lead him to believe there was an alien origin.

“This is an MRI of the cervical portion of her spine,” Martha explained as she lit up the image on the wall.

“Okay, that’s certainly not supposed to be there,” Jack commented as he pointed to a three inch blob which had blocked the view of part of the scan.

“It’s hard for the MRI to distinguish between tumor tissue and edema fluid which is why I drew a sample from the mass and sent it to the lab. Here’s the results.” She handed Jack a piece of paper, and he quickly scanned the lab values. If they were from human tissue, that human would be clinically dead.

“It’s not human.”


“I seriously doubt it’s even from Earth,” Jack added.

“Which is why you’re here,” Martha finished.

“Can you remove it?” he asked. Whatever reason this life form had for taking up residence inside a defenseless child, it couldn’t be good.

“It’s attached itself to her brainstem. We’d kill her if we removed it,” Martha stated as she examined the child again. “You can actually see it, Jack. You can see it sticking out of the back of her neck.” She turned the child slightly and nodded towards the unnatural bulge. He winced in sympathy and was silently thankful that the child was now in drug-induced slumber. He prayed she wasn’t still suffering.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jack said sadly. He desperately wished there was something he could do. “I’ll definitely have Torchwood scan through the databases and see what we can come up with, but honestly, I haven’t the faintest idea what to do.”

“She’ll die if we don’t help her,” Martha whispered as she reached out to push bright red hair off the child’s pale forehead. “God, I wish the Doctor was here.” He reached out and wrapped his hand around hers.

“Me too.”

It was the first time since strange girl had arrived in casualty that Martha felt the least bit comforted.

“Her name’s Anna by the way.”

“Hi Anna,” Jack murmured softly. “I’m Jack.”


It had been six months or so since he’d arrived on the barren planet. He didn’t bother keeping track of time anymore. He didn’t bother doing much at all, really. Simple things like eating and basic rest seemed like far too much work. It’s reaching a new level of exhaustion when one is too tired to sleep.

The Doctor paused to sniff the air and quickly realized that smell was most likely coming from himself. “Rose would be appalled,” he said aloud. He laughed at his own joke, but the incessant ache in his chest made his laughter sound more like broken sobs.

His beautiful Rose.

She had breathed life into his previous incarnation. There was so much he should have said and done. He couldn’t even manage an ‘I love you’ before his holographic image disappeared from the beach. She was another person on the long list of people he’d wronged in his long life. He still missed her so much that it physically hurt.

“You’re pathetic,” he growled through clenched teeth as he collapsed on the couch. It was the first time he’d spoken out loud since the first night he arrived. He felt the TARDIS humming around him. She hadn’t been pleased with him lately even though she never outright said it.

“It’s okay,” the Doctor muttered as he combed his fingers through his tangled brown hair. “I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me too. You’ve got more than enough reasons to.”

Still, taking care of the TARDIS was something he vowed to do, and he forced himself to stand. He checked the controls, inspected the rotors and coils for damage.

A wave of nausea flooded through his body and he tried to remember the last time he’d eaten. He stumbled, his legs quivering from exhaustion, and reached out to grab the console. His hands pressed buttons involuntarily and he hand reached for a lever as a last ditch effort to prevent himself from falling.

He fell anyway. His fingers slipped as his legs collapsed underneath him. As the TARDIS dematerialized, warm blackness reached up to claim him.


Martha had stayed with the child for over twenty-four hours and she was still no closer to finding a way to help her. Jack’s search of the Torchwood computer system wasn’t yielding any results either.

“You’re dead on your feet,” Jack commented as he watched Martha sip what had to be her tenth cup of coffee. “You’ve brought the next physician up to speed. Torchwood, namely me, is already here so it’s not like they’re going to call anyone else. You could use a few hours rest.”

“I don’t want to leave her,” Martha returned with a sigh. She wasn’t going to allow herself to give in to her exhaustion. She’d spent a year hiking all over the planet spreading the message of the Doctor. A few days with no sleep didn’t even compare.

“Come on,” Jack said firmly as he reached for her hand. “Just one hour, that’s all. A change of scenery might do us both good. We need some new ideas.” She couldn’t help but nod. They did need new ideas because they were losing the battle now. Despite how many surgeons she’d consulted with, no one could think of a safe way to remove the alien that had happily attached itself to Anna’s brainstem. They had gone so far as to try to communicate with the creature even though that garnered some strange looks from the hospital staff.

“We better think of something fast,” Martha muttered. “The brainstem influences basic processes like blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Her vital signs are getting weaker by the second because that thing is using her like a buffet.”

“What about a low dose of radiation? Something that’s too weak to harm Anna, but strong enough to get that bastard to let go?”

“If she can survive it, it would stand to reason that it could do. But you saw the lab readouts; it’s probably not even susceptible to radiation. It damn sure made it through all the X-rays with no problem.”

“Are there any medications that you haven’t tried that might help?” He was grasping at straws now and he knew it. They were running out of time.

She shook her head. “We’re not going to be able to save her are we?” Martha asked hopelessly. She’d tried to remain positive, but her exhaustion combined with the worsening state of the child left her little to be positive about. They walked out of the hospital together and started down the street.

“We’ll find a way to save her,” Jack said firmly, “or we’ll find someone else who can.”

It was almost a cliché because just as the words left his mouth, winds began to churn around them and an all too familiar groan emerged from the alleyway.

“He’s here!” Martha yelled happily as she reached for Jack and kissed him firmly on his lips. He smiled broadly, grabbed her hand, and together they ran towards the sounds of the materializing TARDIS.

“Honey, I’m home!” Jack called as he threw open the door of the TARDIS and ran inside. He stopped abruptly, and Martha collided with him which sent them both falling to the floor.

“Some welcoming committee we are,” Martha grumbled as she regained her footing and stood up. “Where is he?” She glanced around the TARDIS and noticed it was darker than she remembered. It felt darker too. Something was definitely wrong.

“Doctor? You in here?” Jack yelled. He couldn’t resist the urge to run his fingers along the console as he walked around the room. A white Converse caught his eye and soon the prone Doctor came into view.

“What the hell happened?” Jack dropped to his knees beside the still form and gently turned him over. Martha dropped to the floor on the opposite side of the Doctor seconds later. Without hesitation, she pressed her ear to his chest and repeated the motion on the right side. She didn’t bother to mention that even though his clothes she could easily feel his bones pressing against the side of her face.

“They’re both still beating,” she confirmed, and Jack released the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. “He looks awful.” She couldn’t help but state the obvious. He looked downright pitiful. His clothes were more rumpled than usual and he looked like he hadn’t seen a razor in months.

“Do you think he’s the only one here?” Martha asked quietly as she pressed the back of her hand to the Doctor’s forehead. “I figured he’d have found someone by now.” She had expected the Doctor to move on immediately. He was the Doctor, after all, always moving on and never looking back. That’s how he survived.

Jack had gotten up and was pressing buttons on the console. His expression was growing grimmer by the second as the TARDIS had seen fit to show him exactly what the Doctor had, or more aptly put, hadn’t been doing the last six months.

“He’s only been to one planet. He’s been alone since he left Earth,” Jack muttered. He continued to rub the console hoping the TARDIS found some comfort in his gentle ministrations.

“What’s he been doing?”

“Nothing,” Jack said flatly. “It’s like he just checked out.”

“But he came to us,” Martha whispered as she tried to smooth down his wayward brown hair. It was obvious that the Doctor had returned because he knew that he needed help.

“I’m not entirely sure he came to us,” Jack commented dryly. He stepped away from the console and looked down at the unconscious Time Lord. “I don’t think he had anything to do with it.”

“We need to get him to the hospital.” Martha wrapped one of the Doctor’s long arms around her neck and tried to lift him off the floor. Surprisingly, she was able to lift most of his body which was another testament to how much weight he’d lost.

“There isn’t any medication the hospital has that can help him,” Jack said as he ran his hand over his face. “Something as simple as an aspirin could kill him.” He grimaced as he looked down at him in Martha’s arms - this was something he never wanted to see.

The Doctor had given up.

“We can’t just leave him here!” Martha snapped. “Help me lift him.” Despite the fact that the Doctor had lost weight, Martha still struggled to keep him upright as his slender body began slipping from her arms. “Jack, help me!”

Breaking out of his thoughts, he reached over and grabbed the Doctor’s other arm. Together they lugged him out of the TARDIS and towards the hospital.

“Anna is the only patient on her unit. We’ll put him in the room next to her so we can keep an eye on both of them,” Martha stated. That way, she reasoned, the Doctor would be able to help the girl the second he regained consciousness.

Jack wrapped his arm around the Doctor’s waist and was easily carrying most of the dead weight.

“You sure you’re not going to get into trouble?” he asked. He didn’t want her sacrificing her career when it had barely begun.

“Some things are more important than a job. Anyway, you already offered me a job at Torchwood,” she returned.

He caught her wink and smiled. “So I did.”


“How’s Anna doing?” Jack asked as he leaned against the wall close to the Doctor’s bed.

“She’s getting worse. Another hour or so, I’m going to let them do the surgery.”

Jack didn’t bother pointing out that it would most likely kill the child. They had run out of options. Martha’s sad gaze drifted to the Doctor, to the one person that might have an answer.

He already knew what her question was going to be. “No change.”

She nodded, and dropped into the vacant chair next to the bed. She reached out and ran her fingers down his cheek.

“This is because of the Master, isn’t it?” She couldn’t keep the malice out of her tone.

“It’s more than that,” Jack responded with a sigh. He’d been too blind to see it before. Jack was old, very old, and in his long life he’d seen death, pain, and suffering which was beyond all comprehension. The Doctor been alive for over 900 years. Even with all that experience, how could he put into words everything that the Time Lord had seen?

“He’s just given up then?” Martha muttered as she shook her head. It couldn’t be true. The Doctor wouldn’t leave them when they needed him most. She should have known better. The Doctor grabbed the Master’s dying body like it was his lifeline. The Doctor had basically disregarded the destruction of Earth and the year that now never was. The Doctor had forgiven a man that she despised with all her heart.

Still, she didn’t care what he’d done as long as he woke up long enough to help her save this child.

If he still cared enough to help her, to help save a human life one more time.

“We need you,” Martha whispered as she leaned her forehead against the side of the Doctor’s head. “I need you,” she repeated directly into his ear as a lone tear slipped down her cheek.

There was no response.

Martha leaned back and swallowed several times. She pushed back the strong emotions that were surging deep in her gut. She had a job to do.

“I’m going to get Anna ready for the surgery.”

Jack nodded as Martha disappeared down the corridor. Her white jacket swirled behind her, reminding Jack of the man the Doctor had been before they’d found him half-dead in the TARDIS, and a faint smile lifted the corners of his mouth. The Doctor would be proud of what Martha’s become, Jack thought.

His gaze fell back to the Doctor’s body and he found two brown eyes staring back at him.

“You’re awake! Doctor, how do you feel? Are you hurt? When was the last time you’ve eaten…or showered for that matter? Honestly, the whole smelly Doctor thing is a bit of a turn off.” He smiled again when the brown eyes focused and recognition dawned across his pale features.

“What are you doing here? This isn’t the TARDIS,” the Doctor mumbled as he reached up to rub his forehead. He made a mental note to make an effort to eat more frequently. Time Lords and headaches weren’t such a great mix.

“You’re on Earth, 2007, about six months since you were here last,” Jack stated. His earlier suspicions had been confirmed. The TARDIS has obviously taken matters into her own hands. The Doctor never had any intention of returning to this planet, to him or to Martha.

“Where’s the TARDIS?”

“She’s fine.”

Slender legs swung out from underneath the bed covers and the Doctor made a feeble attempt at standing.

“What exactly do you think you’re doing?” Jack questioned as he shoved the Doctor back against the pillows. “You were just unconscious.”

“I can’t stay here.” The desperation in his voice immediately caught Jack’s attention. He was expecting the Doctor to laugh off his concern, to tell him he was overreacting, to quote some little known fact about Time Lord healing abilities, and to basically reassure Jack that his fears were all for nothing.

“We’ve got a problem, Doctor,” Jack began. As much as he wanted to help his friend who was obviously hurting, they had to save a girl who was most likely minutes from death. “Martha has a patient, a human child who is five years old, she’s been infected by some type of alien…”

“I can’t help her,” the Doctor interjected firmly. “There isn’t anything I can do.” He wasn’t going to be responsible for another life-saving mission gone wrong; there was already too much blood on his hands. The fact that Jack even asked him showed that perhaps he wasn’t the only one off his rocker these days.

“Will you just hear me out?” Jack snapped. The Doctor’s eyes were now studying the ceiling, the picture of a Time Lord who was not interested. Time Lords were notorious for their ability to remain aloof to all that surrounded them. It was a look that Jack never expected to see on the Doctor’s face.

“To hell with this,” Jack muttered as he left the room and returned moments later with the MRI images and laboratory results.

“Look at these,” Jack demanded as he held the image up within the Doctor’s line of sight. “She’s going to die, Doctor. Damnit, will you just look?”

“I said I can’t help her.”

Dropping his arms in defeat, Jack stared at a man he didn’t recognize. “You really don’t care anymore, do you?” He dropped the images on the table and stalked out of the room. He couldn’t bear to look at the Doctor, at the shell of a man he had once known, for another second.

He found Martha down the hall on talking to the pediatric surgeon on the phone. Jack had brought a contaminant box from Torchwood for the alien once it had been removed from the child.

“Still no change?” Martha asked after she replaced the phone in its cradle. He briefly considered lying to her, but decided there had been more than lies going around over the last year.

“He’s awake,” Jack began and felt his heart twitch at her instant smile, “and no there isn’t anything he can do. He’s not even going to try.”

“Let me talk to him,” Martha said purposefully as she started striding down the hall.

“It won’t help.” Jack reached for her arm, but she pulled away.

“He wouldn’t just let her die, Jack. The Doctor is better than that. He loves people. Maybe he just needs to be reminded of that.” Jack thought there was a lot of things that the Doctor needed to be reminded of.

She lengthened her strides, stopped in the doorway of the Doctor’s room, and gasped. Jack glanced over her shoulder and realized what she was looking at. Nothing.

The Doctor was gone.

“He left,” she whispered into the vacant room. “He just bloody left.” She glanced through the glass window at the child who was now struggling for breath. The Doctor had not only walked away from a child who desperately needed his help, but also from Jack and Martha. Where he had found the energy to walk out of the room of his own accord, Jack would never know.

“I’m sorry,” Jack murmured as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She pulled away from him, her body tense, and he couldn’t blame her. He used to have the same blind trust in the Doctor. He’d even managed to trust the Doctor again after he’d been abandoned on Satellite Five.

“I’ve got to call the operating theatre and get the transport team down here to move her,” Martha said in a detached voice. Jack gazed at the child a final time and followed Martha. Even though his touch couldn’t comfort her, he hoped his presence would bring some reassurance.

Martha made several phone calls, her voice clinical and professional. Jack couldn’t stop the helpless feeling from creeping down his spine. He wished he’d brought his blaster with him. There was no telling what this alien was going to do once it was out of its human carrier. He hadn’t brought those fears up to Martha. Lord only knew what strange alien destruction this one creature could bring once it was released.

“I can’t believe he left,” Martha repeated after she replaced the receiver on its cradle. “We both know this surgery is a lost cause.” There, she’d finally said it. He didn’t tell her to stay positive either. Hell, he’d given up being positive after the Doctor’s blatant refusal to even look at the test results he brought into his room.

“Nancy, why aren’t you with your patient?” Martha questioned roughly as she saw the nurse assigned to Anna wandering towards them casually sipping a cup of coffee.

“Doctor Smith came to relieve me,” she returned with a shrug. “Funny, I’ve never seen a Doctor Smith around here before.” Jack and Martha shared a quick glance before breaking into an all out run down the corridor. “Did I do something wrong?” Nancy called after them.

“Doctor? Doctor, open this door!” Martha screamed as she slapped the flat of her hand against the glass. Jack tried to pull the door open again, using his weight as leverage, but the door remained stubbornly closed. Damn sonic screwdriver.

The Doctor was standing next to the quivering child, his hands jammed in to pockets of his coat, his eyes thoughtfully studying her nearly lifeless body. The look in his eyes caused both Jack and Martha to freeze. There was enough compassion present in those fathomless orbs to melt even the hardest heart.

“Damn him,” Jack muttered.

The Doctor pulled the surgical kit closer and grabbed a scalpel. His fingers loosely grasped the metal as he spared the child a final glance.

“What’s he doing?” Martha asked, confused. Jack was equally as confused and frankly, he didn’t believe the Doctor was anywhere near his right mind, but he didn’t want to believe that the Doctor would hurt this child. Hell, he didn’t know what to believe anymore.

The glint of shiny, surgical steel flashed through the air and the Doctor slashed his own palm. The Doctor paused to study the wound, nodded once, and replaced the knife on the tray.

“What the hell?” Jack barked as he pulled again on the door.

“Doctor, what are you doing?”

“Damn this,” Jack grumbled as he pushed Martha aside and punched through the glass window. He reached down and turned the lock.

The Doctor pressed his bleeding palm against the child’s neck and closed his eyes.

“There you go,” the Doctor murmured. “See, that’s better. Come along then. This is a much better environment for you.”

They raced into the room; Jack grabbed the Doctor and yanked him away from the child. He released the Doctor’s arm as if he’d been burned. He’d felt something moving, something crawling underneath the Doctor’s skin. That certainly wasn’t normal.

“What the hell just happened?” Jack questioned as he glanced between Martha and the Doctor.

“Oh my god,” Martha whispered. Jack turned quickly and saw beautiful, blue eyes gazing towards the Doctor. “Anna, you’re awake.” The child reached up and sleepily rubbed her eyes with the backs of her fists. It was one of the most beautiful things Jack had ever seen.

“I’m going to give you a quick look over, okay?” Martha explained. Anna nodded and gave her a weak smile. Martha began checking the monitors that were gathered around the hospital bed. She examined Anna’s neck and saw a small wound that wasn’t there before. The bulge was also gone.

“That thing, where’d it go?” Martha asked.

“It’s quite simple really. Parasitic worm from the Almatron system,” the Doctor began. “Not quite sure how it ended up here though. It’s an endangered species. Well, not endangered considering it’s the only one left. They were all killed off by a nasty pesticide. This worm has a symbiotic relationship with an animal found on Almatron. Oddly enough, the animal very much resembles the Earth’s cow.” The Doctor paused to rub his chin. “The whole planet has been in turmoil since the disappearance of this little parasite. Commerce has come to a grinding halt and people, humanoids in fact, have been literally without meat for nearly a year. The cow can’t survive without the parasite. Rather poetic, don’t you think?”

“So Doctor, this is all very enlightening, but where IS it?”

“Oh, yes of course.” Jack and Martha held their breath silently as the Doctor shrugged and reached out to stroke Anna’s curly hair. “It’s in me.” The child was ginger. Lucky girl.

“What?” Martha and Jack yelled in unison.

“We’ve touched her dozens of times and it didn’t end up in us!”

“Bloodied hand,” the Doctor stated as he waved his palm towards them. Martha grabbed the offered hand and started examining the self inflicted gash. “I basically posted an invitation for it to come into me. Anyway, the parasite needs a host with a lower body temperature. That’s one reason why she was having all the complications.”

“So she’ll be all right then?” Martha asked as she gestured towards the child who was now giggling as the Doctor entertained her with his sonic screwdriver. Who knew he could make shadow animals on the wall using his beloved screwdriver?

“Right as rain,” he said with a smile.

“What about you?” Jack questioned as he noticed the lump that was now embedded in the Doctor’s neck.

“Not really sure,” the Doctor said with a casual shrug as if that was the furthest thing from his mind. “I hadn’t given it much thought.”

“Well, now would be a great time to start giving it some thought!” Jack snapped. Seriously, how could the Doctor have been so careless with his own life? One minute he’s begging the Doctor to save the child and the next he’s cursing him because he put himself in danger. Such was the life of Jack Harkness.

“Perhaps we should discuss this outside,” Martha stated as she glanced at Anna. “How’d you like some food?” The child’s smile lit up the room as she nodded vigorously. “I’ve got another doctor friend that’s going to come by and see you. We’re going to fix your neck up and you’ll be out of here before you know it.”

Jack smiled at the child, grabbed the Doctor’s arm, and started lugging him towards the door. The Doctor turned a final time and gave the child an animated wave before allowing Jack to lead him away.

“Was that the only way to remove it?” Martha asked after the three of them were alone in a conference room.

“Probably not,” the Doctor answered truthfully. “I could have lured it out, but it would have died without a host.”

“So this was your master plan?” Jack asked flatly. “You don’t know what that thing could to do you.”

“It would have died,” the Doctor repeated, his voice growing dark. “It’s got just as much right to life as any one of us. It’s not its fault that it’s a parasite worm that happens to require a brainstem to feed on. Honestly Jack, I never thought you to be prejudice.”

“It’s a parasitic worm!” Jack nearly yelled as he tossed his hands in the air.

“What are you going to do with it?” Martha asked. She found herself trying to act as a buffer between Jack and the Doctor. Obviously tensions were still very high between the pair.

“Take it home. There is an entire planet that will be thrilled to have this little creature back.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Martha couldn’t keep the concern from her voice.

“You lot always did worry too much. I already told you that I was…” Brown eyes disappeared behind lowered eyelids as the Doctor stumbled forwards. Jack caught him mere seconds before unconsciousness reached up to claim him once more.

Part 2
Tags: angst, doctor who, grieving heart

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