Shana sat on the jumpseat, this time watching quietly. She was nervous, worried, impatient, and... afraid. Her thoughts kept drifting to her Doctor. The one she left, curled into a ball, who was in pain, and whom was lost in the darkness. If this Doctor can get them back safely, and to the right time, she will have only been gone a few minutes. Maybe a hour or two.
"... ok? ...Shana? Did you hear me?" She looked up, realized she had been deeply lost in thought.
"I'm sorry. No, what did you say?"
"It's ok," He said, offering her a small smile. "I said that I will get her to land about a hundred kilometers away, and see if we have any readings of another Tardis. If not, we'll pop right back out and try something else." She nodded, slipping back into her thoughts.
"Ha! Got it!" The Doctor looked up, a huge smile of success on his face, but it didn't help Shana. She looked over at him, and gave a small, weak smile. He punched a few buttons and flipped another switch, and the Tardis moved again, this time landing close to the one from the future. There was a knock on the door. "Shana? Would you like me to get it? Or would you..." He saw that she was lost again, her mind travelling away for the moment. "I will get it."
He quickly walked over to the door, and before he could touch it, he knew there were two Time Lords on the other side. Familiar Time Lords. He opened the door, finding three men, one being carried by the other two.
"Doctor!" The one said. The Doctor waved the three in, and they carried their burden into the room, laying him carefully on the floor. The one in the bow tie whipped out a sonic screwdriver and waved it over the man they had carried in. He could feel the Tardis trying to reach the prone man. Suddenly, he was engulfed into a fierce hug by the non-Time Lord that had helped carry him in. The man let him go, gave him a kiss and then went over to Shana.
The Doctor studied the odd man, rather impressed by his appearance. Tall, dark hair, bright eyes, and way to pretty for his own good. If he looked at his timeline, he was a impossible thing.
"Shana? Hey, hon, it's me. Ya there?" Shana looked up, and saw Jack. Her thoughts finally broke and she gave him a hug. An all encompassing, never letting go hug.
I may need your help, Jack, She said to him. He pulled back a little, looking into her eyes. When its time... and I have to let them leave... He nodded then, understanding.
"Jack, let me introduce you..."
"Oh," He grinned. "You don't need to. I know this man rather well."
"You do," The leather clad Doctor asked.
"Yep." Jack stood there, hands behind his back, blue trench coat swaying as he rocked on his feet. "Where's Rose?"
The tweed Doctor looked up and over at Shana, who shook her head. "He took her home so we could do this. It was easier that way," She said. Jack nodded, a bit sad at the thought. She noticed then, probably for the first time, that her Doctor was here. She knelt down beside him and turned to the tweed doctor. "How long was I gone?"
"Twenty-six hours," He said, rechecking his screwdriver.
"Twenty-six hours?" Shana stood up and looked over at the Doctor in leather. "Twenty-six hours!" He pulled his hands out of his pockets and held them up, shaking his head.
"Shana, it's not his fault. I did that on purpose." She looked back down at the tweed Doctor."
"Why? You know I said a few hours. He... could have not suffered another day..."
The tweed Doctor stood up and pulled her into a hug. "I know. But this is what happened, and what should have happened." He pulled away a little and looked into her eyes. He leaned forward, placing his forehead on hers. You couldn't have come back sooner anyways.
Jack returned... The Tardis... And now she remembered. When the Doctor had dropped off Jack, there would have been two of her selves, two of her Doctor, and the tweed Doctor. She nodded, understanding now.
"Shana, can I speak to you, for a few minutes, outside," The tweed Doctor asked.
"Yeah, Jack, Doctor, can you help get him to the Sick Bay?" They nodded and went to move the Doctor, while she followed the tweed Doctor outside. She stopped before leaving. "Hey, Jack..."
"Yeah yeah, I know." He grinned at her and she laughed back.
She walked down the ramp and out the doors, closing them behind her. She saw the tweed Doctor sitting on a bench across the way. She stopped for a moment, watching him. He was leaning forward, his arms on his knees, his head bowed. A different Doctor... Different from the one she met on Rosantalidan. She turned around, looking like she wasn't sure where he was. Doctor?
"Over here," He called out, and she spun, smiling. He was now, nonchalantly leaning against the back of the bench, his legs crossed, juggling his screwdriver.
"So... what's up," She asked as she sat down next to him.
He sat there, looking at her, smiling, and then pulled his eyes away from her, looking at the two Tardises.
"How are you holding up," He asked.
"Me? It's... a struggle." He nodded.
"Three of us here now..."
"Yep," She replied.
"If... you could choose, choose one to be with right now, who would you choose?"
She sat there, blinking at him, cause she couldn't believe he had just asked her that. How could he ask her that? "How could you ask me that?"
"Sorry, I actually didn't think I was going to ask it..."
"But it's what you thought about the whole time I was gone?" He nodded. "What happened?"
"Doctor, don't bullshit me." He looked over at her, the setting sun glittering off her hair, the wind from the water making her stray tendrils fly around her head. "We aren't supposed to lie to each other, remember?"
He nodded as he looked out to the water. "Sorry." She reached over, taking his hand in hers.
"What's going on? What happened?" He didn't answer, and she looked over at the two time blue boxes. "Doctor?" She watched him reach into his pocket, pulling out a small piece of paper. He opened it, looked at it for a moment, and then handed it to her.
"Afterword by Amelia Williams: Hello, old friend," She read quietly. She stopped, looked over at him, and saw he had slouched back into the bench. She continued reading it, her eyebrows frowning. When she had finished, she folded it gently and handed it back to him.
"Your companions." It wasn't a question.
"They were different this time. To you I mean," She said, seeing how deep the pain has cut into him.
"They were... family." She nodded.
"Their daughter," He said. She could hear his voice was tightening, and so she waited for him. "She was my wife," He whispered.
"I had thought as much when I saw the two of you together. So then, the Library..." He nodded. She turned to him, wrapped her arms around him, and he threw his arms tightly around her. She could feel his hearts breaking, and felt sobs come from his chest. Finally, he pulled himself together, and pulled away from her.
"It was wrong of me to ask. I am sorry." She shook her head at him.
She looked over at the two blue boxes and sighed. "I can't leave him now, you know that." He nodded. "I... have a idea... will you give me a few minutes? Don't go anywhere? Don't wander off?" He looked offended at that. She only shrugged.
"Yeah, I will wait for you right here." She nodded and got up. He watched her as she walked back to the Tardis. To his Tardis. The doors opened before she had approached them and he shook his head at her and the thrall she has over his sexy machine.
She smiled, as the door opened for her, felt the familiar touch of the wonderful machine. She approached the console, loving the design of the room.
"Hello Old Girl," She said, caressing the machine. "You look great, by the way. Listen, I need a favor from you... Well, more then one, I think. Can you converse with the other Tardis? Or is that breaking some time-law?" She felt a giggle and she had a sense that the two machine can talk easily enough.
"Okay... Then... I need you to let the other know about a week before... Not the Doctor in leather, the one that is in pain and who is with Jack right now. Not the one on the... Oh, just look!" Shana placed her hand firmly on the console and showed the Doctor she was talking about. A week before he regenerates, I need the Tardis to drop me off here. One week from now. And then, I need you to bring the Doctor (she sent a picture of the tweed Doctor) here, one week from now. I hope you understand.
She received a feeling of understanding.
One other thing... between now, and then... He can't be alone. You know how he is... Help him, until it's the right time? She received another feeling of understanding.
She thanked her again, and went to leave, and then heard something odd. She turned around and saw ticker tape leaving out of a small slot on the console. She picked it up, and when it was done printing, she ripped it at it's end. When she looked at it, she saw three lines of binary code.
"Thank you," She said, not knowing exactly what it was yet, but had a feeling it was foreknowledge. She rolled it up and put it in her pocket as she left the wise blue box. She went back to the tweed Doctor, whom she found was re-reading the Afterword. She sat down, and held his hand as he finished reading it.
When he was finished reading it, he folded it back up and tucked it back into his pocket without letting go of her hand. He sighed, squeezing her hand as he leaned back into the bench.
"All done conspiring?"
"You going to tell me what you two talked about?"
"Nope." He sighed, shaking his head with a smile. "But... I am going to tell you what you are going to do." He looked at her, his eyes wide. "You can read that letter fifteen more times." His eyes went wider. "After that, you can only read it five times a day, no more, for a week. The next week, only three times a day. The next week, two times, and then as many times a day as you want, not to be read more then three times a week."
He closed his eyes, nodding quietly. "You are right, of course."
"I know, its your way of mourning, and remembering. When you don't need it as often, you should frame it, and hang it in the Hall." He nodded. "Is River there now?"
"Yes. I couldn't have her there, even though I knew, cause..."
"No, I know."
Shana? You should come now, Her leather Doctor said to her.
On my way, sorry it's taken so long. She turned to the tweed Doctor. "We're being called." He nodded and stood up. He pulled her into a tight hug as she stood, holding her for a few minutes.
"Shana, I have always loved you. In case I have been too daft to tell you enough times before, you should know that." She released him from the hug, and looked deeply into his hazel eyes. She brought her hand up to his cheek, fitting her palm against it.
"I love you, dear heart. No matter how you look, I love you." She leaned forward, kissing him softly. A soft, quick kiss, but one for him to understand her words are true. She let him go then, and walked into the Tardis that was not his. He sighed a long, sorrowful sigh and wiped a tear from his eye.
He walked to his Tardis, snapping his fingers so the doors would open. Once inside, the doors closed behind him, and the vworp vworp sound was heard across the wharf as the blue box dematerialized.