Story: Pages from a Broken Book series - 14 separate single-part stories
Rated: Most individual stories rated All Ages; one rated Adult, one rated Teen
Word count: 26501 (most individual chapters between 1000-3000 words)
Author’s summary: He thinks of life as a book, every page a different story. His life, as he once knew it, is broken; these are the pages therein. Told from 10.5's POV.
Characters/Pairings: Rose Tyler, The Doctor (Duplicate 10th)
Reason for Recommendation: This, like The Devil You Know, is a post-Journey’s End story that sticks in my brain, because it makes me think. Fluffy, happy endings for the Duplicate Doctor and Rose are ten a penny. Stories where they have to work for their eventual happy ending are fewer, but still fairly plentiful. Stories where the author actually gets inside the Duplicate Doctor’s head to show us why this is practically a nightmare scenario for him, and not at all one where a kiss and a smile from Rose can make it all better, are very rare indeed. This one’s the best by far.
The Duplicate Doctor is half-human, which means he is also half-Time Lord. He’s been torn away from the only life he’s ever known, and from his constant companion, the TARDIS. Yes, he’s got Rose, but that’s not straightforward either because she’s still working out who he is to her compared with the original Doctor. This Doctor has no idea who he is; the only way he can define himself is that he’s not him, the original Doctor. He’s tied to one place and time, without even the final remnant of his own race and planet, and he’s suddenly genetically altered. azriona doesn’t make light of the Doctor’s adjustment trauma, or the way he’s trying the patience of those around him and, while he does eventually find his measure of peace with the life he’s been abandoned to, this story still makes my heart ache for him.
He goes through the motions — waking up, showering, brushing his teeth. He dresses in clothes that are not familiar, don’t fit quite right, are not the same as what he wore the day before.
He is doing this for Him.
(It is always Him, never named. There are two of them, and it is hard to keep track, but he cannot think of Him any other way.)
If it were only for himself that he does these things, it would not be worth the bother of waking and brushing and dressing. He is not just himself — he is part of a greater whole. He is to lead a normal, human life, for his other self who cannot. He thinks of them as partners, in a way. They are two dissimilar bodies of the same mind, able to walk two paths simultaneously. He is doing it for Him, even though he himself is not human.
Not entirely, anyway.
The half-human part of him is made up of singles. Single heart, single respiratory system, single life. He is made up of singles, but he is never alone, because of Her.