Author: Lilac Summers
Fandom: Doctor Who
Classification: Ust and humor, eventual smut
Rating: This chapter PG-13
A/N: I was stupid and typed up over 2/3 of this on the posting screen. Then Livejournal ate it. I about cried. Here's as much as I could rewrite without going on a rampage. My Donna cusses like a sailor even more so than usual, due to my frustration.
After that there was a lovely trip to Denzel 7 -- which Donna thought might be a good sign, due to the name. Alas, Denzel was populated, not by clones of Denzel Washington, as she'd hoped, but by giant people-eating lizards. Then they ran away from a near beheading by an honest-to-god Queen of Hearts. And after that there was general mayhem as they accidentally knocked into an asteroid and sent it hurtling into Pluto's orbit.
So, no time for her to try to meet anyone new, regardless of the Doctor's promise.
Finally it was on a quick stop to Earth to visit the family and restock the biscuit supply that Donna figured it was as good a chance as any.
"I've decided I need a night out," she announced breezily as she helped the Doctor carry in the last bag of groceries.
"Lovely idea! Where to? The singular purple moon of Byanzintone has a bar that's well known for its fish-scale-martinis."
"Uh, yeah, let's put that on the list. Low, low on the list, like number 473 on the 'What Donna Wants to Do In the Whole Wide Universe' list. No, I mean, I need a night out here."
The Doctor blinked at her, uncomprehending.
"At my old stomping grounds."
"Well, don't know why you'd turn down fish-scale martinis for that, but if that's what you want then let me get my coat."
The bag the Doctor carried thumped loudly onto the kitchen table, a few wayward oranges rolling out. Donna snagged them as they made their way to her feet, then looked up to find the Doctor staring at her with wide, haunted eyes.
"Why?" he queried hoarsely.
"You know why. Because of...because of that conversation we had that you said... you said it would be okay and that you understood and that I could have some time. Remember?"
"Of course I do," he said abruptly, eyes shuttering and suddenly becoming unreadable. "And so you want me to stay here so you can go off and--" he made a casual fluttering motion with his fingers before crossing his arms, then leaned a hip on the table. "Well of course, you're free to go do what you silly humans always do."
Donna breathed a very quiet sigh of relief.
"But I don't see why I have to stay here and wait for you. Plenty of things to see in the universe while you're being so basely human."
Donna's relief evaporated into panic. "You can't!"
"S'my time machine. I can do whatever I want."
She rushed up to him, stabbing a finger in his face, well aware her hand was shaking in fear. "Don't you dare! You get into the worst trouble by yourself and you said, you promised, I could meet people. You can wait here a few hours, it won't kill you. You can't leave me here!" Her voice ended on a shriek, hyperventilating at the idea of being abandoned.
"Donna," his arms unfolded as he tried to make small shushing gestures. She slapped his hands away.
"You said I could travel with you! You can't just leave me because I need some time alone; that's not fair! You can't -- you can't leave me behind!" She gasped out, feeling the air catch in her throat.
"Donna," he cut in again, worried, finally taking hold of her heaving shoulders. "Focus on me. Breathe, now. Breathe."
She took a few gasping breaths, futilely fighting back terrified tears and shaking with the effort.
"I didn't mean I'd leave you behind," the Doctor said quietly. "I meant I could go off for a few hours so you could do...what you have to do."
"But what if you don't come back for me!" she sobbed.
"I'd always come back for you. Promise."
"N-n-no," she gulped in air. "You could get lost, or something happens to you, or you get the time wrong," -- or forget, forget her forever this time -- "and can't come back. No. I'm coming with you. I'm always with you. Forget it. Forget I said anything about finding anyone for anything, ever. I'm fine. We're fine. Let's go."
She took up the bags again, made as if to take them the pantry, but as he called out one more careful "Donna", she dropped the bags to the floor, evaded his hands, and ran away. Pride be damned.
She was safely ensconced in her room. She knew it was stupid, but somehow she felt as though he couldn't throw her out if she were in here. Not that he ever would, but she couldn't shake off the illogical fear. Because nothing was worth that. She didn't understand why the conversation of her going off for a no-strings shag had turned so volatile. But if she never touched another human being in anything but friendship ever again, it would be worth it to stay on the TARDIS, with him.
She heard his soft tread stop outside her door, and his gentle call of "Donna?"
She scrubbed her hands over her face, erasing the traces of smeared eyeliner. Then she stood and went to the door, facing him calmly as she swung it wide. The Doctor stood there, rumpled and worried.
"I would never leave you," were the first words out of his mouth.
Her composure crumpled. "You already did, once."
"It was to save your life, you know that. I can't apologize for it. And I came back, didn't I?"
She nodded, grudgingly. "Only because my brain wasn't going to explode, after all."
"But I came back." He ran a shaking hand through his hair. "I - I don't come back for people, you know. But I came back for you. I'll always come back for you."
She sniffed and scrubbed her hands over her face again. "Then why the attitude?" she asked, honestly confused.
He sighed and looked down at the toes of his trainers. "You're right, you know? I know you're right, about humans needing touch. It's not fair for me to deny you one of your species' most basic needs. Truth?" at her nod, he took another swipe at his hair. She wondered how he had any hair left, with how much he fiddled with it. "I'm afraid of you leaving me."
She startled, jaw dropping in surprise. As if she would ever! "I wouldn't..."
"Humans leave, Donna. I don't blame them. They find something else they need. Someone to love, to build a family with, and suddenly traveling is just not that important. Some of my companions have had no choice in leaving, but they would have anyway, at one point or another -- so I haven't gone back for them. But you...I don't want to lose you again."
"Oh, Doctor," she sighed. "I'm not looking for another husband. Been there, done that, remember?"
He smiled kindly at her, though there was sorrow deep in his eyes. "Doesn't mean it can't find you again. Don't they say that love finds you when you're not looking?"
"Well I don't care about any of that! This is my life. Nothing else is worth it. I'm not leaving for anything."
He looked at her winsomely. "Just like I told you I wouldn't leave you?"
She had the grace to look abashed. "S'different."
"No it isn't. You don't seem to understand, Donna. You're my best mate. I wasn't any good without you. I don't want you to have cause to leave, either."
She dipped her gaze, embarrassed, until the Doctor cleared his throat and put on a happy voice. "So go ahead! Get all guzzied up or whatever it is you need to do. I...I'll be in the control room, waiting to take you where you want to go."
"And you won't go adventuring without me." She said it like a statement but they both knew it was one last plea for reassurance.
"Nah. I'll catch up on some reading, why don't I? Been meaning to get through several centuries worth of popular fiction. How -- uh -- how long do you think you'll need?"
Donna blushed, for no apparent reason. "I'll be back before dawn, how about that?"
"Sure. Fine. Good. Uh, I'll just be..." he made a vague motion towards the hallway, then left as quietly as he'd arrived.
But the truth was, she wasn't in the mood anymore.
Donna stood in front of her mirror, eyeing herself critically. The dress she wore was short and thigh-skimming, glittering when she moved. Dark tights and some truly fabulous shoes finished off the outfit. With her hair straightened and eyes darkened, she could just about convince herself that she was ready for a night of fun.
And if the most that she got out of this night was that she dressed up and got to wear heels instead of flats or trainers, then the night was already a win.
She made her way to the console room to find the Doctor arrayed on the jump seat, an enormous tome in his hands. She lingered shyly, hidden by a coral strut, before taking a determined breath and clicking her way inside.
"I'm ready," she said.
"Great!" The Doctor slammed the book shut and jumped up, not looking her way until he'd stationed himself by the location settings. "Where--" he trailed off, finally taking a look at her.
Donna toyed self-consciously with the hem of her dress.
"Wot?!" she finally demanded. "Dress too short? Does it make me look fat?"
The Doctor seemed to shake himself back into place. "No, of course not. You look...lovely." He fiddled with what Donna swore was a Pez dispenser, glued to the console. "Where to?"
"No need to re-park. It's a small club right around the corner from my house. I want to walk, get some air."
"Okay," he nodded absently, before shoving a hand in a pocket to root around. "But wait a minute, I'm sure it's around here some... ah ha!" He pulled out something small in triumph, then rushed her way.
Before she knew it, he had grabbed her hand a shoved the biodamper on her ring finger. It looked exactly like a wedding ring. She scowled. How was she supposed to even have a fighting chance wearing that? "You think I'll need a flippin' biodamper at a club?!" she exclaimed, incredulous.
"It's not a biodamper," he explained, snagging her hand again and bleeping it with the screwdriver even as she tried to swat him away. "Well, not anymore. It's a tracking device."
"In case of emergencies, if we need to go...so I can find you."
"End of the world emergencies only!" she clarified. "And that's what cell phones are for!"
"You want me to put the fate of some poor planet on poor cell phone reception?"' he asked in scandalized tones.
Rolling her eyes, she worked the biodamper-tracking thingy off her ring finger and shoved it on her pointer finger. The Doctor seemed unhappy with this change in location. "Fiiine. But at least try to call me first."
They stood awkwardly and stupidly for a long moment, neither knowing how to proceed from here. She hated it; hated feeling awkward with him when she never did before. Hated feeling guilty over something she had absolutely no reason to feel guilty about.
Not able to stand the tension any longer, she turned quickly and headed for the doors. "Well, see ya, then." She opened the doors and stepped through, giving the Doctor one last wave that he didn't deign to return.
But once she got to the club it only took a few minutes of her circling around the small space for Donna to know she wasn't going to be heading home with anyone tonight. She waved off the few men who approached her -- none of them seemed worth the effort. Not with the mental picture of the Doctor, standing alone and lonely in the TARDIS, embedded in her head.
She resolved to make the most of tonight anyway; enjoy some drinks, put her feet up, look pretty. No reason to crawl back with her tail between her legs just now. At closing she would head off to the TARDIS and the Doctor would be none the wiser at her epic failure. Then she could give it another go in a couple of weeks. What was important was that a precedent be set, for some future opportunity.
An hour later she was sitting at the bar, comfortably chatting with a bartender she had known for ages. The night was on the slow side, so he helpfully topped off her drinks while gushing about his 3-month-old baby girl. After the fourth story of how much of a prodigy she was, Donna was attempting to look engrossed by leaning forward intently. The fact that he refreshed her gin and tonic helped tremendously.
"Donna," he broke off suddenly, looking over her shoulder. "You waiting on some bloke?"
"No. Told ya, it's just me tonight," she answered, taking a healthy swig of her drink.
"You sure? Cos there's a skinny one by the door who can't stop looking at you."
Donna sputtered and quickly spun in her chair. Then sighed gustily as she saw the Doctor standing by the doors, scowling their way.
"Sweetheart, do you need some help? Want me to call someone to get rid of him?" said the bartender, concerned at the intensity of the glower coming his way.
"Nah," she sighed again, "he's harmless. But thanks." She laid some notes on the counter and waved half-heartedly before dragging her feet towards the Doctor.
"What now?" she whined when she reached him. "Better be the end of the world!" She dug her cell phone out just to be sure. "You didn't even try to call first!"
"Donna!" he greeted, seeming ridiculously relieved to see her. "So glad you're still here. The biodam...uhh...biotracking ring wasn't working at 100% and I thought that maybe--" He was grabbing her hand again, slipping the ring off her pointer finger and placing it decisively back on her ring finger. "There we go! I knew location would affect its efficacy."
Donna took her hand back, allowing herself only one raised eyebrow. She was too tired and disinterested at the moment to call him on his obvious drivel. "So are we saving a planet or what?" she reminded him.
"Right! You'll love this, Donna -- I got a distress call from Emporia. Big problem with sentient cash machines!" He grabbed her hand once more and hauled her back out the doors.
Donna trudged back into the TARDIS, exhausted beyond belief. She carried her heels in one hand, her tights were ripped, and her carefully straightened hair was a mass of tangles. All she wanted to do was crawl into her bed and not come out for a week.
"Wonderful!" crowed the Doctor, dancing in after her and brimming with energy, as if they hadn't just sprinted out of a building about to explode. "That should teach the Emporians not to mess with cyborgs. Well, for another 300 years at least."
Donna collapsed on the jump seat, head heavy in her hands, even as the Doctor skipped to the controls and set them into the vortex with unnecessary enthusiasm. After flipping the last switch, he shoved his hands in his pockets and tipped his heels back to lean on the console. He surveyed her in a friendly manner.
"So, night is young yet. Want me to drop you off back at the bar?" he offered.
Donna raised her head from her hands and gaped. Was he crazy? She looked like she had been dragged through a bush backwards, felt like she'd run miles in heels -- because she had! -- and he was offering to take her back? She wanted a bath, and bed, and to never repeat this disastrous day again.
She was about to tell him so, but then she took a closer look at him. There was an air of smugness to his stance, and a self-satisfied grin edging his lips. He was well aware the last thing on her mind was going back to the club for another try, Donna thought -- the bastard. She felt fury bubble up her chest.
She stood quietly, straightening out her short dress. The rip in her tights had expanded over her entire knee. She carefully reached under the dress' hem and worked the tights down her thighs, ignoring the Doctor's scandalized look. The tights were discarded to the floor, leaving her pale legs bare as she stepped into her high heels again. She shook out her hair and ran her fingers lightly under her eyes, checking for wayward mascara.
"Okay, I'm ready."
The Doctor straightened slowly from his faux-relaxed perch, tense and wary. "You -- you want to go back?"
"Yeah, sure. Night's young, as you said. Take me back," she said. She sat down once more on the jump seat, careful of her short hem as she crossed her legs, and waved a hand imperiously towards the controls
"But -- I mean -- I," he turned towards the controls, flipped a few meaningless switches. "I may have spoken too soon." He swiveled the screen his way and hummed as if in thought. "I think we may need to return to Emporia to make sure..."
Donna broke. She slapped her hands down sharply on the leather seat, making the Doctor jump and whirl to face her. "Are you fucking kidding me?!" she screamed. "Do you think I'm a moron? What the hell is your problem!"
"I don't have a problem," he stuttered nervously.
"You obviously do! And don't give me that rubbish about 'being afraid I'll leave you,' coz I ain't the twit you take me to be. I can see through this farce just as easily as I can see through your piss-poor excuses. You don't want me trying to pick up anyone and I want to know why!"
He stared at her, eyes wide with distress. It absolutely enraged her.
"What is it? Afraid I'll make a bloody fool of myself, is that it? I know I'm not young or pretty -- dim Donna and her feminine wiles! Well we both know what you think of my feminine wiles, but that doesn't mean that other blokes can't find me attractive!" she shouted..
"I've never thought y--" he attempted.
"Not every man I meet wants to only feed me to a giant spider! I don't need you 'looking out for me,' scared I'm going to fall for some dream of a white picket fence and turn into a sobbing mess when it doesn't come true. As if I'm going to fall arse over elbows over any bloke that smiles my way!" she raged.
" I wouldn't--" the Doctor tried to cut in again, frustration starting to win over concern.
"You aren't my father and it's none of your business! Guess what, martian, I'm a big girl and these kinds of decisions aren't the big deal you're making them out to be! If I want to a get a leg over someone, who the hell are you to stand in my way!"
"I'm well aware I'm not your father. I just.." there was anger in his voice now, though Donna didn't give a fig about that.
"In fact, I don't even know why I'm bothering with a club. Take me to Jack; he'll be happy to take one for the team," she decided.
The sudden silence was thunderous. "I'm not taking you to Jack," the Doctor said darkly.
"Why not? He's offered before. Since you obviously don't trust me alone on my own for one night, then you can have no reason to not let me go to Jack, so just--"
In a rush of movement, the Doctor was looming over her, hands clutching the back rest of the jump seat and bracketing her in. "I'm not taking you to Jack," he repeated harshly.
And then he was kissing her.
Donna's tired brain nosedived from righteous indignation to unadulterated shock. What was happening?!
Her hand came up between them. She told her brain to tell her hand to push him away, but obviously her befuddled brain got the signals wrong because her hand was wrapping around his tie, bringing him in closer so she could return the frantic kiss. Which was another mistake her brain was making, because she was sure she hadn't told her lips to do that, either.
Finally the need to breathe had her breaking away, to stare into the Doctor's dark, furious eyes. "What?! I...What?" she managed.
He dove down again, and she made a strangled sound of disoriented pleasure. But her brain was slowly catching up, enough for her to finally get her hands to obey and push him away instead of pulling him closer. "Wait," she gasped, then stared stupidly, "What?!"
As in what the hell!?!
He allowed himself to be pushed away, straightening. His movements radiated contained wrath as he shrugged off his coat. Donna watched in disbelief as it fell off his shoulders to puddle on the ground. When she looked back up it was to find the Doctor working the buttons of his jacket loose in slow, deliberate movements. Moments later his hands were at his tie, undoing the knot.
Donna dug her fingers into her eyes, unsure how this hallucination had gotten started. But when she reopened her eyes, she was still met with the sight of a Time Lord undressing in front of her.
"Okay," she said quietly, sure she was missing something important. "I'm going to say this one more time, and I know you'll appreciate the sentiment -- WHAT?!"
"It's what you want, isn't it?" he growled. He began to work on his shirt buttons, fierce, sharp tugs that had the buttons pinging free. His fingers shook with rage.
"But..but...you don't do that!" she cried, hands flying up in agitation as she referred to their earlier conversation.
"I'm willing to make an exception. What did you call it...'take one for the team?'"
That did it, She felt like she'd been smacked across the face. Donna jumped to her feet in outrage. "I don't need a pity fuck from you!"
"You prefer one from Jack?"
Donna hissed -- one quick, short inhale of appalled hurt -- before her hand was swinging wide in a quick, violent gesture.
The Doctor caught her wrist before it connected, herding her until her back hit the console. They stared at each other, nose to nose, equally livid beyond words.
And they were kissing again, dueling tongues and teeth fighting for supremacy. Donna couldn't tell who had leaned into whom. All she knew was that the Doctor's hand was still tight around her wrist, his other buried in her hair. Her own free hand was gripping his shoulder, nails digging in in retaliation. His weight pinned her to the console and her short skirt was riding up her thighs.
Her brain was back in the game, letting her know that as far as her body was concerned, angry sex would do just fine.
But this wasn't some random chap picked up for a night of mutual, meaningless pleasure. This was the Doctor, her best mate -- with whom she was desperately in love, and who didn't love her back -- and this was a terrible, terrible mistake.
Donna was wonderfully skilled at making terrible mistakes.
to be continued!