So here it is, the last chapter! :( I can't believe it, 33 chapters and over 3 years and it's over! I'd quickly like to thank all of you who have been reading and stuck by this story, your reviews and support means a lot :)
This chapter goes 'back to the beginning', if you will, and I kind of stole the style from chapter 1, if you remember that far back :D
I really hope you enjoy, and please take a moment or two to review! :)
Disclaimer: Doctor Who does not belong to me, I begrudgingly admit.
"What about you?"
Donna Noble turned her head to look at the Doctor, leant against the wall beside her and lost in thought. Around them, crowds of people milled around, preparing to teleport home from the Library they had been trapped in for so long. She had failed to find her computer husband – Lee – and, more than anything, wanted to go home, back to the Tardis, and sleep. The Doctor still didn't answer.
"Are you all right?" Donna pressed.
"I'm always all right." came the reply, joined by a wide, plastic smile. He was lying, of course; so many people on Lux's expedition to the Library had died, including a certain River Song, a woman clever enough to match the Doctor's wit. She had given her life for the Doctor, convinced that a man as brilliant as him meant more to the universe than she did, a lowly professor.
"Is 'all right'…" Donna said slowly, finally gaining his full attention, "special Time Lord code for 'really not all right at all'?"
"Why?" the Doctor asked, confused. Donna's lips quirked slightly, but she couldn't manage a smile.
"'Cos I'm 'all right', too," she breathed miserably, looking down at the ground and missing the Doctor's sympathetic expression. She had been through a lot more than him today; it felt like they had been in the Library for years.
The Doctor wound his arm around his best friend and pulled her into a hug, allowing her to encircle him with her arms and grip tightly onto him. They stood like that for a long moment, both allowing themselves to feel the exhaustion and emotion the Library had inflicted on them. Then the Doctor pulled away, taking her hand and squeezing it tightly.
"Come on," he said gently, leading her back towards the Tardis, and bed.
"Where shall we go next?" the Doctor asked as they walked along.
"I want to go to bed." Donna grumbled. The Doctor couldn't help but chuckle, causing Donna to finally crack a smile.
"I have an idea," he said, opening the door to his ship, "Why don't we go to the year 3081, this planet called—"
"Rise and shine, sunshine!"
Donna Noble awoke to the feeling of being shaken. She groaned and rolled onto her back, opening her eyes blearily to see Jack Harkness leaning over her, his dark hair adorably mussed up and his blue eyes sparkling down at her.
"Morning," she smiled, stretching her arms above her head and arching her back. Jack smirked appreciatively and placed his hands either side of her, lowering himself down to plant a kiss to her lips.
"How are you today, Mrs. Harkness?" he purred against her skin, nuzzling her neck with his nose. Donna squirmed slightly, ticklish, and grinned widely.
"Never better," she told him, truthfully. Jack offered her a wide grin, before rolling away from her, laughing at her whimper of discontent. Moments later, he was back in her arms, wielding a newspaper.
"10th June 2012," he read the date, before perusing the front-page article.
Donna was hit by a wave of déjà vu, suddenly recalling the day exactly four years ago, when the Doctor had become a human. The adventure that changed everything, for both of them. Jack felt her tense against him, glancing at her.
"Any bad dreams?" he asked gently. Donna shook her head 'no'.
"I dreamt about the time the Doctor and I visited the Library," she informed him, "Right before we met the Family, and…"
"Came to present day London with the Doctor disguised as a human, and ran into me once again," Jack finished the story with a chuckle, folding up the paper and putting it aside, "Dreaming about another man on your wedding night – should I be worried?"
Donna laughed aloud and wound her arms around his neck, "You most certainly do not need to be worried; I'm all yours, Mr. Noble,"
Jack frowned at her, "No… that's not how it works."
"Yes, it is," Donna insisted, before pressing her mouth to his. Jack responded eagerly, the dispute quickly forgotten as he enjoyed having his new wife all to himself.
Somewhere far away from the newlyweds, the Tardis drifted through time and space, its pilot too distracted to direct her anywhere.
Inside, the Doctor was busy attempting to entertain the young, hungry children as they waited for their breakfast. To that end, he had happily dug an old puppet theatre out from within the Tardis, in addition to various finger puppets. As he performed a child-safe version of Romeo and Juliet (complete with happy ending), three beaming faces watched in awe. The oldest was the eleven-year-old Alice Herold-Harkness, Jack's daughter from a previous relationship. Alice was a pretty girl; she looked like her mother in a lot of ways – so Jack said – with a slim build and delicate features, including a slim, straight-edged nose, pink rosebud lips and wide round eyes. Her colouring, however, was all Captain Harkness, wit her ice-blue eyes and long, straight brown hair. She was quite quiet, incredibly bright and witty, and a calming influence on the younger children.
Beside her sat Donna's little girl, Helen 'Nellie' Noble. Nellie was the very image of Donna, with unruly ginger curls, a wide, cheeky grin and a loud attitude to match. She was almost the very clone of her mother, except for her eye-colour – instead of her mother's green-blue, her irises were steely gray like her biological father, Chris Parker, had had. She had found it impossible to sit quietly throughout the Doctor's production, interjecting with her critiques of her Uncle Doctor's performance, as well as accurately guessing each of the twists he had planned. (The Doctor knew that as soon as she was old enough to read Agatha Christie's books, she would be able to correctly guess who did it by the end of the first page).
Nellie sat curled around her best friend since birth, the Doctor's oldest son, Caleb Tyler. The young boy, only a few weeks older than Nellie, was riveted by the story, shushing his friend every-so-often and always winding up squabbling with her, until his dad or Alice stepped in. The Doctor couldn't help but be amused by how similar Caleb and Nellie's relationship was to his and Donna's, almost history repeating itself. They loved each other really – Nellie had gripped onto Caleb's hand all morning long, even during their brief arguments. Caleb had Rose's features, with the wide smile and slightly turned-up nose, although he had his dad's big, brown eyes and dark hair.
When Jack and Donna had announced their engagement, Rose had immediately offered to take Nellie while they went on holiday, happily offering sweet Alice a trip as well. And so, following the previous day's nuptials in Cardiff (during which the Doctor had acted as best man, and Rose as matron-of-honour), the Doctor had dropped his best friend and her new husband off on Natiann, their honeymoon location; Natiann was a sparsely populated planet, ninety percent of which was water. The Doctor owned a small island on the planet, with a quaint white cottage on it, looking over the blue sea and with a view of the planet's two suns. Donna and Jack could swim, sunbath and relax, entirely uninterrupted; perfect!
"Doctoooor!" came a singsong voice. Distracted, the Doctor stuck his head up over his stage, accidently scattering several puppets in the mean time.
Rose stood in the doorway, her blonde hair scraped back in a ponytail and a floury apron on over a white shirt and jeans. Endearingly, she even had flour and mix on her face. Cradled against her chest was the newest addition to their family, six-week-old Flynn. He was wearing a white-and-blue onesie given to him by Donna, his ocean-blue eyes hidden, and his tuft of dark blonde hair being smoothed down by his mother's gentle hand.
"Breakfast is ready," Rose announced, laughing as Nellie and Caleb barrelled past her, already fighting over who got the syrup first. Alice followed at a slower pace, thanking Rose politely for making breakfast and taking little Flynn from her back to the kitchen. Left alone, Rose grinned and leapt into the Doctor's arms, hugging him tightly. The Doctor gripped her tightly, dotting kisses to her hair.
"You. Are. Wonderful." he told her, punctuating each word with a kiss.
"I just made pancakes,"
Rose giggled and turned her face up to the Doctor's, smiling broadly.
"Do you think Donna and Jack are having a good time?" she asked.
"Oh, definitely," the Doctor answered immediately, "Donna was always after a holiday while we were travelling together, but we never got around to it. She'll be relishing Natiann, and Jack'll be relishing her!"
Rose's smile instantly turned cheeky, "Do you think there will be lots more little ones joining the extended family soon?"
The face the Doctor pulled was priceless, enough to cause Rose to descend into giggles.
"Come on; breakfast!" she laughed, tugging his hand and leading him towards the kitchen.
The Doctor lifted her hand to his mouth and pressed a kiss to her palm.
"As soon as Flynn is a bit older, we are going to have Jack and Donna repay the favour and leave the kids with them while we go on holiday," he promised. The two families were very close, and the Doctor still counted Donna as his best friend – sometimes, he missed travelling with her in the Tardis, and he knew she missed it too. Then they both looked at what they had now – children, partners, and, in her case, a job – and they knew they had given it up for a good cause. That didn't mean they couldn't still adventure together when they could – the Doctor and Donna Noble, in the Tardis.
"I'd love that," Rose said sincerely, kissing him. The Doctor nuzzled his nose against hers, before lifting a hand and wiping the flour off it.
"You are such a messy cook!" he chastised gently.
"You love it!"
The Doctor laughed loudly as they entered the kitchen, ready to join the kids for the first meal of the day.
As they ate, the Doctor watched his lovely Rose as she smiled, joked and laughed with the little ones – she was so good with children, such a natural mother. And he loved her very much – he had been scared to admit it out loud at first, but as soon as he had held Caleb in his arms, as soon as he had seen the radiating joy on Rose's face, the Doctor knew that this was what he wanted. A family, and a lifetime with Rose, however brief it was.
Rose had been through a lot at his hands; loving and then losing the man of her dreams and father of her baby, only to have the same man standing before her again, and her child changing its DNA inside her. She had proved so accepting and resilient, and on top of adoring her, the Doctor found himself holding the greatest respect for her – this glorious human being. How the time had changed them all – Donna, Rose, and him. It had been four years, he realized, since Rose and his human counterpart John had met.
The Doctor knew that he would only have Rose for a few more decades, after which he would be left broken-hearted – but not alone, he thought, as he watched Caleb pull faces at Flynn. His sons; little Time Lords. And even if he was left crushed, heart-broken and without her, the Doctor thought it would all be worth it to have Rose Tyler for what time he had. He owed it to her, he owed it to himself, and, more importantly, he owed it to John Smith.