Title: Sparkling Personality (Part 4 of His Universe series)
Author: Lilac Summers (lilsum4)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Eleven/Donna (and Amy/Rory for adorableness)
A/N: Sequel to Part 3: Live Long and Prosper, from the His Universe series. Will this make sense if you haven't read the others? Probably not! Here you go if you need a refresher: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Donna has always been a deep sleeper, not someone who can just wake up and go. She's not a morning person, either, and never has been. Even if on the TARDIS there is no actual "morning," her body always insists it feels like the crack of dawn. It generally takes an hour and two cups of good, strong coffee to wake her completely.
And it's such a luxury being able to sleep in without her mother screaming at her to go job hunting that, with the comforting hum of the TARDIS around her, her sleep is so deep and restful that the Doctor would no doubt joke she's practically comatose.
So this particular "morning" she wakes to snippets of dreams of happy times still cycling through her brain: Oods and pinstripes and frothy drinks at alien bazaars. She shrugs on an elaborate ceremonial robe that she filched from a sheikh on some sandy planet after she and the Doctor rescued his harem. It's embroidered in gold thread -- the sparkles at the bottom may actually be genuine rubies -- but it's lined in the most sinfully soft cashmere ever, so she uses it as a dressing gown. She hadn't realized how much she missed it until she found the Doctor and his merry band of hipsters, and saw it hanging in her closet.
With a careless swipe at her tangled bed hair, she yawns enormously, feeling particularly dazed as she enters the kitchen. Her mostly-asleep brain registers the thin man with messy hair and thick glasses sitting at the table. Wasps and detoxes still echo in her brain. And, feeling particularly affectionate, she smiles sleepily, mumbles a g'mornin', ruffles his hair and tips up his face to plant a friendly, smacking kiss to his lips, before continuing on to the coffee machine.
She knuckles sleep from her eye and pours herself a huge mug of coffee. She drinks half of it in one go, and tops up her mug again. Feeling a bit more human, now she can afford the patience to add sugar and cream. Another jaw-cracking yawn, and then she's wrapping her hands around the warmth of her mug so she can turn around and lean back on the counter.
To find three people staring at her.
Another redhead, with a spoonful of oatmeal, dripping, frozen halfway to her mouth. A shoddily dressed grandpa wanna-be. And the skinny bloke -- who isn't the Doctor at all.
Rory is blushing a deep red. Amy drops her spoon in her bowl and leans back in her chair, to better cross her arms over her chest and glare at her husband. The Doctor is already mirroring that pose, though he can't seem to decide on whether he should be glaring at Rory or Donna.
"So?" drawls Amy, the Scottish thick and dangerous in that word. "Anything you'd like to tell me, husband?"
"I ...uh...I don't know....?" garbles a flustered Rory.
"Gawd, so sorry," sighs Donna, scrubbing a hand over her face. "M'not at my best in the morning. I thought he was--" she points at the fuming, silent Doctor.
"Ahhhh," exhales Amy in realization, even as she leans over and "wipes" Donna's kiss off her husband with a napkin. Mollified with this new bit of drama, she drops the napkin and turns an interested eye at the other woman. "Was like that, was it? Do tell."
"It was NOT 'like that,'" protests the Doctor, face scrunched in distaste as he grabs the napkin from where Amy dropped it, and also does his level best to wipe Rory's lips clear off his face. Rory snatches the napkin from the Doctor and frowns mightily, until the Doctor subsides.
Battle lost, the Doctor turns his accusation at Donna. "It's never been 'like that,' so why is it 'like that' with poor, defenseless, thoroughly-spoken-for Rory?"
Donna shrugs, unconcerned now that she's sure Amy isn't going to jump out of her chair and attack. The heavy robe slips off her shoulder, and she tugs it back up. "I just felt friendly?"
"You aren't ever 'friendly' in the mornings! I was more likely to get a whack in the face for talking too loudly than anything else."
"People can change!" defends Donna, taking another sip of coffee. "Lookit you, you've changed plenty." It's blatantly obvious that she doesn't quite mean that as a compliment, even if her tone is innocent.
"Anyway, Rory, sorry for the," she waves her hand in a vague gesture, "enthusiastic good morning."
Rory side-eyes his wife, judges that she's not taken offense, and smiles at Donna. "My pleasure. Gingers love me."
Amy swats at him playfully. "Quiet. I only married you to make an honest man of you."
Donna giggles, because they really are just precious together. "I could embroider it on a pillow for you: Rory Williams: Ginger Magnet,” she teases.
The Doctor stands abruptly, chair clattering behind him. "Rory, it's come to mind that I need your help in the console room."
Rory, busy puffing up his chest under the attention of two attractive women, swivels to send a stunned look the Doctor's way. "You want my help?"
"Yes," says the Doctor definitively.
"You are going to let me touch the TARDIS?"
"Yes," the Doctor says again.
"Because you 'need my help'?" clarifies Rory once more.
"YES, Rory, I believe I did string all those words together not 10 seconds ago. So please follow me as we have much to do. Chop chop!" The Doctor claps his hands to emphasize the "chop chop", making Donna jump and almost spill her coffee.
The Doctor strides out purposefully, and Rory follows after throwing a baffled look Amy's way. Donna watches them leave over the rim of her cup.
"Are you checking out my husband's arse?" asks Amy, pointblank.
Since there's absolutely no use denying it, Donna gives a blunt, unapologetic, "Yeah.”
Amy nods. "It's a good one, right?" she says, inordinately proud as if she's personally responsible for the tightness of her husband's bum. She mimes a quick grab. "Nice handful, for a skinny bloke."
"He is rather adorable," sighs Donna.
"So am I going to have to worry about you accosting my husband anytime he wears glasses?"
Amy grins. Donna grins back and relaxes against the counter, finally feeling like she's found some footing with the younger companion.
"But this morning was a misunderstanding, I assure you. I wouldn't hit on him. Well, not right in front of your face," tries Donna out, hoping this playful side of Amy will remain.
"Mighty kind of you. And I know you can't help yourself because...he reminds you of what the Doctor was like, before?" hedges Amy, throwing it out there.
Donna buries her nose in her cup in a poor attempt to avoid the question.
"Oh, come on, we're just getting to the good part!" protests Amy when Donna remains mute.
Donna sighs and sets down her cup. She doesn't want to shut down communication when it's the very first time Amy is willing to talk to her without that underlying thread of suspicion.
"I need to get ready for today. Want to," she pauses, feeling suddenly like a teenager asking the popular girl to sit down at her lunch table, "um, want to come to my room? To chat?"
Amy bolts up. "Yes!" she says, so quickly that Donna wonders if maybe Amy has been feeling the same way, too.
Donna smiles, wide and true. "Okay then."
"I've been meaning to ask -- where did you get this fabulous thing?!" Amy inquires, sitting on the edge of Donna's bed. Donna had discarded the robe, and now Amy feels the weight of the material between two fingers. She taps a red stone, gasping, "Are these rubies?!"
Donna drops on the bed beside her. "Yeah, I think so. Nice, huh? You like that, you should see this!" she exclaims, jumping back up to rummage in her closet. Her voice comes out muffled. "Got these from some merpeople."
Amy frowns. "Mermaids? Not a fan. Tried to kidnap Rory. Though to be fair, everyone tries to."
Donna's face pops out, red and ruffled. "Noooooo! Really?! These ones were very nice. Gave me this!"
She comes out wearing an honest-to-goodness shell bra, encrusted with thousands of tiny glittering diamonds, like something out of a swanky lingerie catalog.
"Oh," Amy's eyes widen with proper avarice. "So sparkly!"
"Ain't it?!" Donna jumps up and down, making the light refract all over the room as her breasts bounce. "Couldn't wear it for long, though. The Doctor said the reflecting light was too distracting."
"Och, of course. Couldn't have possibly been your cleavage that was too distracting," Amy observes with heavy sarcasm.
Donna sniggers. "He made me wear his skinny jacket over it, but the top button wouldn't close. We saved the merpeople with me looking like a call girl!"
There are peals of laughter coming from Donna's room.
The Doctor stands nervously in the hall, until Rory comes upon him. "Have you seen Amy?" Rory asks.
The Doctor points accusingly at the door. "She's in there. This does not bode well, Mr. Pond."
Rory rolls his eyes at the moniker. "She's in Donna's room? Are they finally making friends? That's great!"
"No, no, it really isn't. What we have here is a burgeoning friendship between two gingers. You realize what this means, correct?"
At Rory's blank look, the Doctor flings his arms out. "One was enough to overrule us, two of them are absolutely unstoppable. They could take over the universe if they ever put their minds to it," he says in all seriousness.
Rory is trying not to laugh, really he is. "Then it's a good thing that I can distract one of them," he tells the Doctor, trying for the same serious tone. "I guess it will be up to you to distract the other," he says, pushing by the stunned Doctor.
"I – How..." splutters the Doctor, trying to figure out exactly what that means, and then coming to the less-than-innocent conclusion. "I'm married! To YOUR DAUGHTER!" he shouts after Rory.
Rory ignores him and continues walking.
"What is wrong with you people!" he demands.
Suddenly, the door in front of him is swinging open and Donna is at the threshold. He blinks. She's wearing that damned diamond encrusted thing, with the Sheikh of Sands' royal robe tied loosely at her navel. He blinks again, and concentrates on not staring.
"Wait, you're married to their daughter?! You're kidding! That's DISGUSTING!" Donna roars.
That definitely draws his eyes back up from sparkly cleavage. "What? How do you know that?"
"You just screamed it down the hall!"
"These are kids!" shouts Donna, arms flapping to indicate Amy, who has come to stand beside her.
"Hey! I'm 25," contests Amy. "Perfectly reasonable time to have a baby!"
"Doctor!" gasps Donna, turning sickly green, so that her hands fly to her mouth as though she's holding back vomit. "Tell me...please please please tell me...that you didn't marry a baby. Having a crush on Rose Tyler was bad enough, but this--"
"Donna!" interjects the Doctor loudly, reaching out to grab her hands and hold her still, before she can go off on another dramatic tirade. "It's River Song. Their daughter is River Song. Some...timey-whimey stuff happened... and other technical stuff that you won't let me explain anyway, but suffice to say she is a mature adult."
Donna is silent, inspecting his eyes. "Oh," she finally says, shoulders dropping in relief. "Oh!" she repeats again, this time in seeming surprise at finding the Doctor wed. She carefully draws her hands from his. The Doctor's arms fall limply to his sides.
"So," she begins, as though at a loss. "Er, she caught you, just like she said, did she?" She looks down and realizes how much flesh she's displaying and draws her robe closed, tightening the belt.
"Well there was this fixed point, and then a paradox, so we had to cha-" the Doctor begins, graceless.
Donna's not paying attention to his fumbling excuses, instead whirling to look at an uncomfortable Amy, standing beside her. "Waitaminute, that means you're his mother-in-law!" she exclaims.
Amy nods. "Yes, it sure does."
"He's your son-in-law!" Donna double-checks.
"That's usually how that works," the Doctor growls out.
Donna grasps Amy's shoulders gently, squeezing in sympathy. "My condolences," she says, in all seriousness. Then she moves Amy out of the doorway, steps into her room, and slams her door shut.
Amy and the Doctor observe the door for a while, each lost in their own thoughts.
"Good job," Amy comments finally.
"Shut up, Pond, nobody asked you."
They continue to stare at Donna's closed door for a few seconds more, before Amy pipes up, curiously, "Is this how it was before, Doctor?"
"What do you mean?"
"Seems all you two ever seem to do is quarrel. It's a wonder you got anything done, before."
The Doctor is silent for so long, Amy is sure he is not going to answer. But he finally sighs, long and deep.
"No," the Doctor admits. "Donna and I...for the past me, traveling with Donna was so...so...easy. We could sit in silence for hours, or talk nonstop. It was like she was made to be here, in the TARDIS, with me. Though she wasn't ever afraid to stand up to me or tell me-- shout at me, actually -- when she thought I was wrong. So yes, we argued, we did, but, for the most part Donna... she was my very best mate."
"Why do you fight now, then?" Amy asks quietly.
He makes a flippant motion with his arm, indicating a 'who knows?' "Any variety of reasons, I would guess."
"Take a stab at a few."
He shuffles his feet around a bit, eyes still trained on the door before him. "I'm different than I was before. Usually am, after a regeneration." His eyes are sad and distant, and he adds, almost to himself, "I wanted to be. I wanted to forget it all, start new somehow." He shrugs again. "Maybe our personalities simply don't mesh as well."
Amy sets a hand on his shoulder in support. "Well you are a right pain in the arse, but we love you anyway," she grins. "And what else?"
He avoids her gaze, shuffles some more.
"And she's probably still angry at me. About the whole," his hands rotate round his head, to illustrate, "brain thing."
"The 'brain thing' being where you erased her memories and dumped her on earth, that brain thing, right. But you've apologized already, haven't you?"
He turns to her. "Of course not! I saved her life!"
Amy's young face twists in disappointment. "Are you serious?!"
"Nothing to apologize for!"
Her jaw hardens, green eyes giving off fierce sparks. "Gee, now whyever d'you think she's still angry, then. I'd be overjoyed to forget your stupid face!" she bites out with heavy sarcasm, smacking his arm as she turns on her heel to leave him to his denial.
"Awww, look, you're picking up some of Donna's habits already," sighs the Doctor to her retreating back.
Donna has decided to continue to wear the diamond bra, mostly because it makes her feel pretty. And because it will bother the Doctor, but that's just an added plus. Anyway, she doesn't really want to think about why she feels the need to needle the Doctor just now. Not like her wearing a sparkly bra is going to change his marital status, and of course it wasn't really a surprise about River but still you'd think after almost a thousand (or more!) years of kicking about the universe he wouldn't have fallen for that old "must fix the paradox" trick, and, like, couldn't he see that coming from a universe away, the big, stupid, oblivious Martian, and---
And no, Donna's not wearing the diamond bra for any of that, she tells herself firmly. She's wearing it because she likes it and because, by some rare engineering miracle, it's surprisingly comfortable and supportive. That's all.
She covers it up with a loosely-knit scoop-necked shirt, the glimmer of diamonds twinkling through the fabric or peeking from the top when she shifts, and leaves the comfort of her bedroom to find the rest of the gang.
"Are you still wearing the Mystic Brassiere of the Seven Glimmering Oceans?" immediately asks the Doctor when she joins the rest of the group in the control room.
"Why are you still wearing it, really, is what I meant."
Donna shrugs a shoulder, and her boobs sparkle through the shirt. "Felt like it."
"It's quite distracting," argues (whines) the Doctor.
"Don't look at it, then."
"Do I have to explain to you the definition of distraction?"
"Do I have to explain to you the definition of my foot up your ars--"
"Children!" shouts Amy. "Behave yourself or Rory will stop this time machine!"
The Doctor wrinkles his massive brow in disapproval at Donna, and Donna purses her lips at him in displeasure.
"Doctor," commands Amy, "tell Donna you're sorry. And that it's not her fault if you can't keep from staring at her breasts."
The Doctor balks. "I most certainly was not staring at her breasts!"
"Then you can't have been distracted by the diamonds, can you, so there's no problem. Now, take us somewhere nice for lunch."
The Doctor tries to catch Rory's eyes as if to say "See?!" but Rory studiously ignores him.
Lunch, of course, ends with the Doctor, Donna, Amy and Rory caught in a soon-to-explode reactor on some futuristic world. The Doctor is half buried in the guts of the great machine, buzzing away with his sonic. Amy and Rory are holding back the insectoid rebels who have rigged the reactor to blow.
Donna is quite impressed with Amy's aptitude with a broom handle, and Rory is slugging away like a prize fighter. Donna is the second line of defense, keeping the Doctor clear by using a chair to smack away any stray that makes it past Amy or Rory.
"Hurry it up, Doctor!" shouts Donna, caught in a tug of war as a child-sized praying mantis pulls at her chair with its pincers.
"I'm trying not to get my hands burned off by the internal lasers," comes the muffled voice from under the machine, aggrieved.
"Secondary security controls - miniaturized roving lasers over the primary switch bypass."
"Are they lasers like in spy movies?" she shouts back at him.
"Yes, Donna, like in 'spy movies,'" the Doctor's droll reply echoes back. "Now be quiet so I can concentrate."
"Well, what do you need?" she shouts as another minute ticks by, her arms lagging under the continued attack.
"I need for you to be quiet!"
Donna fumes, insulted, until she finally gets a solid smack over the rebel's head so it drops unconscious. With an eye on Amy and Rory's continued battle, she reaches under her shirt and undoes the clasp of her bra, slides one arm out and then the other, and pulls the garment free from under her shirt. She squats down by where the Doctor's upper half disappears under the reactor.
"Here!" she shoves the bra through the opening.
"Ouch! Why are you smacking me in the chin with a -- OH! Diamond encrusted brassiere! Of course! .. Wait, does this mean you're not wearing a --- No, nevermind. Oh, this is perfect!"
The Doctor continues to rhapsodize as Donna goes back to her post, and a minute later the infernal machine belches out a great cloud of black smoke and then a high-pitched, sad whine before the alarms die off and the machine goes utterly silent.
With a great chittering of distress, the rebels retreat, leaving Rory and Amy to collapse against each other, exhausted.
The Doctor, singed and slightly smoking, pulls himself free of the machine with a triumphant smile, only to pick Donna right off her feet and twirl her around.
"Always thinking, my Donna!" he crows. "Saved by lingerie!"
"What lingerie?" asks Rory.
The Doctor sets Donna on her feet but continues to hold on, delighted. "I was able to reflect the lasers away from my hand by wrapping it in Donna's bejeweled unmentionables."
The others finally notice the diamond bra that twinkles from the Doctor's arm, hooked over his wrist. Then the lightbulb seems to click and three of them move their gazes to Donna's chest.
It takes a while for Donna to realize that everyone is still not admiring the bra, and instead are focused on her breasts, unfettered under the thin cotton of her shirt.
"OI!" she roars, crossing an arm over herself and pulling the bra free from the Doctor's arm. She smacks his head with it, for good measure. "Bloody useless lot you all are! Next time I'll let all of you explode!" she thunders, stomping away towards the TARIDS.
The Doctor rubs his head, and catches Rory's smiling face. "What're you smiling at, Pond #2."
"She didn't hit me," Rory points out.
Amy smacks the back of his head with a solid, open-handed thwack. "There you go," she simpers at his pained yowl. "So you don't feel left out." She clomps out the door in a perfect imitation of Donna.
The Doctor turns a knowing eye at Rory. "When they conquer the universe and everyone is forced to worship gingers, I promise to say 'I told you so.'"
to be continued