AN/ This fic is one of my longest TARDIS POV fics yet! It's the beginning of 'The Runaway Bride' through the 'eyes' of the TARDIS, and she's not happy. Part of my TARDIS 100 series. The BBC owns the lot, I just write about it for fun. Betaed by LilCosette, my own little angel… who bites sometimes.
With the life the Doctor and I lead, we meet strange people and beings all the time. Every time I land we encounter a stranger. We're used to it by now, or the Doctor is at least. It's not often a strange mind passes through my doors, and I've grown used to the comfort of familiar minds.
So it was quite a shock when Donna Noble literally popped without warning into our lives.
The Doctor and I were grieving at the time. We had just managed to say our final goodbyes to Rose Tyler, and even then the Doctor had never gotten the chance to say everything he had wanted to say. We had run out of time, and that hurt so very much.
The Doctor had completed a slow, sad circle around my console when I was beginning to feel ill. This was something on top of and not related to my grief for Rose. It felt like a tingling in my heart - different than the familiar feel of the Time Vortex. I was about to tell the Doctor when she suddenly appeared.
It was a shock. A stranger! An intruder! But I quickly determined she was harmless, well, physically anyway. Her voice was another matter altogether, as was evident from the moment she opened her mouth.
The Doctor was aghast, his thought echoing my own about the strange person. "What?" he exclaimed.
Donna's mind shouted all her thoughts. It was just as loud as her mouth and there was no filter between the two. Although it's true that often it would seem that the Doctor didn't have a filter between his mind and his mouth, Donna took this to a whole new level. When she appeared, her back was to the Doctor. She spun around and saw him with a yelp.
"Who are you?" she demanded.
The Doctor was still dumbfounded and for once, he struggled for words. "But - "
"Where am I?" Donna demanded.
Donna's voice rose in volume and intensity. "What the hell is this place?"
I gave the Doctor's mind a sharp prod to get him thinking. Words finally tumbled out of his mouth. "You can't do that, I wasn't…" He looked up at my gently pulsing Time Rotor that showed I was still hovering in orbit of the dieing star. "We're in flight! That is- that is physically impossible! How did-?"
Inside his mind, he screamed at me for an explanation. I told him that I had none to give. Whatever had happened in my heart to pull Donna here was still making me feel ill, and her mental shouting wasn't helping either.
"Tell me where I am. I demand you tell me right now - where am I?" Donna commanded.
The Doctor stared at her. "Inside the TARDIS."
"The TARDIS!" The Doctor's frustration grew with each passing second, as was Donna's. The Doctor turned to my control to try to figure this out.
"The what?" Donna continued to demand.
"It's called the TARDIS."
"That's not even a proper word! You're just saying things!" Donna accused. My dislike of her grew. Were it not for the simple fact that I'd usually only harm a person in self-defence, I would have zapped her.
"How did you get here?" the Doctor asked.
Donna was practically stiff with rage. Her mind shook with it. "Well, obviously, when you kidnapped me. Who was it? Who's paying you? Is it Nerys? Oh, my God, she's finally got me back. This has got Nerys written all over it."
The Doctor just stood there, staring at Donna as she ranted. When he found a gap, he asked "who the hell is Nerys?"
"You're best friend," Donna answered as if the Doctor was an idiot.
The Doctor seemed to just notice that Donna was wearing a poofy white wedding dress. "Hold on, wait a minute - what're you dressed like that for?"
"I'm going ten pin bowling," the bride answered sarcastically before ramping up the volume again. "Why do you think, Dumbo? I was half way up the aisle!"
The Doctor took a few steps back at the force of Donna's shout, then quickly returned to my controls. There are a number of types of people both he and myself would never want to see inside of me, and a hysterical bride is definitely one of them. Donna began to walk around, continuing to rant and rage.
"I've been waiting all my life for this. I was just seconds away! And then you-- I dunno, you drugged me or something!"
"I haven't done anything!" The Doctor shouted.
"We're having the police on you! Me and my husband - as soon as he is my husband - we're gonna sue the living backside off ya!" Donna threatened. She turned and noticed my doors. She quickly headed towards them. I soon realised that if she stormed out, she would fall into space. I threw up my air shields for when she opened the doors, as I knew she would, and shouted a warning to the Doctor.
He looked up in alarm and hurried after her. "No, wait a minute! Wait a minute! Don't- !"
But it was too late. Donna flung open my doors and stopped short, staring in shock at the supernova. I realised then that the Doctor and I must have seemed just as strange to Donna as she was to us. The Doctor stepped up to her.
"You're in space, outer space. This is my... space ship. It's called the 'TARDIS,'" he explained gently, knowing astonishment she was feeling.
"How am I breathing?" Donna asked, her voice soft for once.
"The TARDIS is protecting us."
Not like I had much of a choice. I couldn't just protect the Doctor and not her. He would have been horrified if I had tried to do that.
Donna looked at the Doctor. "Who are you?"
"I'm the Doctor," he said with a slight sigh. "You?"
The Doctor looked her up and down and made an easy guess. "Human?"
"Yeah. Is that optional?" Donna asked.
"Well, it is for me," the Doctor replied.
There wasn't enough room left in Donna for more surprise, not after the shock that she was in space. "You're an alien."
The two of them just stood there, staring out into space for a few moments. I saw everything strange Donna had experienced so gar, including the Doctor's confession that he was an alien, sink in.
After a little while, that didn't bother her any more. It was the draft from the freezing darkness of space coming in through my doors that annoyed her. The human brain never fails to amaze me.
"It's freezing with these doors open," Donna commented.
The Doctor slammed them shut and ran back up to my console, suddenly full of energy. Donna followed, still confused.
"But I don't understand it and I understand everything! This-- this can't happen!" The Doctor exclaimed. He rounded on her. "There is no way a human being can lock itself onto the TARDIS and transport itself inside. It must be... "
As he spoke, he grabbed anophthalmoscope and used it to look into Donna's eyes, trying to find some form of alien life that shouldn't be there. "Impossible. Some sort of subatomic connection? Something in the temporal field? Maybe something pulling you into alignment with the Chronon shell. Maybe something macro mining your DNA within the interior matrix. Maybe a genetic-"
The Doctor's string of techo-babble was cut off as Donna slapped him. "What was that for?" The Doctor demanded.
"Get me to the church!" Donna shouted.
The Doctor dropped his instrument and went back to my controls. "Right! Fine! I don't want you here anyway!"
"Neither do I," I agreed.
"Where is this wedding?" the Doctor asked.
"Saint Mary's, Hayden Road, Chiswick, London, England, Earth, the Solar System," Donna said. I had to hand it to her, she was specific.
The bride suddenly spotted one of Rose's shirts slung over my railing. She snatched it up and turned accusingly to the Doctor."I knew it. Acting all innocent. "I'm not the first, am I? How many women have you abducted?"
The Doctor looked up from the controls to see what she was yelling about now, but when he saw the shirt in her hands, his face fell. That deep sadness that has only temporally been pushed aside me the stranger's sudden appearance now came flooding back. I felt the sadness again too, eating away at my heart along with the strange feeling of whatever had brought Donna here in the first place.
"That's my friend's," the Doctor answered her.
"Where is she, then? Popped out for a space walk?" Donna asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Gone where?" Donna demanded, oblivious to his change of tone.
The Doctor turned his sad gaze back to my controls. "I lost her."
"Well, you can hurry up and lose me," Donna yelled furiously.
"Don't worry, we will," I thought.
Donna took a breath and watched the Doctor for a moment, finally realising that this was a very sensitive topic for him. His entire demeanour had changed. He didn't say anything as he typed at my controls, setting the course once again for London. "How do you mean, 'lost'?" she asked.
The Doctor looked up at her darkly and for a moment, I saw a flash of fear in Donna. The Doctor approached her and snatched the shirt from her rands. The bounce returned to his step and voice as he tossed the shirt away and threw the lever that would make me take off."Right! Chiswick," the Doctor declared.
I continued to feel ill during my flight. I suspected it had something to do with the loss of Rose. It was weird for me to miss a companion so much, but then again, Rose and I had a special bond. We had once shared a heart and the Power of the Time Vortex. It was this feeling coupled with whatever strange occurrence that had transported Donna inside me that caused me to not want to go where I should have. At that time, Donna's mind where Rose's once was inside of me felt like a bad taste in my mouth. I just wanted to get rid of her. I managed to get the city and the date right, but I landed nowhere near Chiswick.
Donna ran out my doors as soon as I landed. The Doctor followed more slowly, knowing that something wasn't right with me.
"I said 'Saint Mary's'. What sort of Martian are you? Where's this?" Donna demanded, looking at the unfamiliar buildings.
The Doctor ignored her and stroked my wooden doorframe with concern."Something's wrong with her…"
Donna just rolled her eyes. I decided then that I didn't really want to see her again. This time and place was going to have to be good enough.
"It's like she's... recalibrating!" the Doctor realised. He ran back inside me and up to my console."She's digesting." He touched my Time Rotor and asked me directly "What have you eaten, what's wrong?"
"My Doctor, there's something wrong in my heart, something that called her to me. You've got to figure out what it was," I said.
Outside, I noticed Donna was in yet another state of shock. It took me a moment to realise what it was that had startled her this time, but then I realised it was the same thing that gets anyone and everyone once they compare what I look like outside with what I look like inside.
The Doctor called to her, still inside and oblivious to her new bewilderment. "Donna? You've really gotta think. Is there anything that might've caused this?"
Donna wasn't listening to him. She paced around my outside walls, feeling the wood. The strangeness was quickly getting too much for her.
"Anything you might've done?" The Doctor continued to ask. He took readouts and samples from my console. "Any sort of alien contacts? I can't let you go wandering off in case you're dangerous. I mean, have you... have you seen lights in the sky? Or... did you touch something? Something- something different? Something strange? Something made out of a sort of metal or... who're you getting married to?"
While the Doctor talked, Donna competed her circuit of my outsides. I felt some stratification that she'd be less likely to re-enter my doors after double checking that she wasn't hallucinating, I really was bigger on the inside.
"Are you sure he's human? He's not a bit overweight with a zip around his forehead, is he?" the Doctor inquired, wondering if the Raxicoriocfallapatorians had returned to Earth once again.
But my strangeness had proven to be too much for Donna and she ran away. The Doctor realised this and ran out after her, pausing only to close my doors.
I hoped the issue with Donna would be resolved soon so that my Doctor and I could move on. Shame that it was longer and more painful for me personally, but I'll get the Doctor back for that one day. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to meeting some friendlier strangers.