As I am a professional writer and have work to do to get paid, I have decided to deal with these thudding plot bunnies in the traditional manner - I will inflict them on others. Please see my Profile for the Challenges of the Month. Brand new August challenges have been added for your entertainment, education, and inspiration. If you'd rather do July's, instead, I'm accepting July II Challenges until the end of August or until I can't keep up, whichever. Thanks to all those who have participated thus far - I've REALLY enjoyed all the results. The new challenges will run through the end of August. Please let me know when you respond to a Challenge so I can read and review.
Angelili asked for a post JE story with Rose and Doctor Too. She asked for a baby, and a discussion of choosing a name that isn't John Smith. She also asked for a bit of a technical difficulty for Rose: for some reason, the woman has a ringing mobile phone down her shirt.
Ah, the troubles these people get up to...
And, yes, I stole the title. Borrowed. Like the Doctor Too and Rose. Mind you, I would take better care of them...
A Member of the Wedding
Donna was getting married. The Doctor was reasonably certain she was actually going to go through with it this time, because the man's name wasn't Lance, he didn't secretly work for an evil off-shoot of Torchwood, and he didn't appear to care for spiders at all.
In fact, Jake was currently standing on a chair in the loo complaining that the rather small spider that had crawled in there with him was going to eat him. The Doctor sighed, stood up, flung the door wide, and chucked his trainer at the spider, crushing it. Jake heaved a sigh of relief and climbed down off the chair, grinning like an idiot. "Thanks, Doctor," he said.
"No problem," the Doctor answered. "Saving the world, one spider at a time. Will you please hurry up and get your kit on before we have to drag you to the altar without it?"
"When're we dragging you to the altar, speaking of which?" Jake asked, hunting around for his dress shirt.
The Doctor took it off the door handle and passed it over. Jake had to be the most nervous groom in the entire recorded history of time. No wonder Mickey had decided to skip back to the old Universe. He'd said there was nothing left to do, but that wasn't it - he'd just wanted to give this whole fiasco a miss.
"Think it's her we'll have to drag," said Ianto, who was already positively immaculate.
"Just give it up," Pete said. "Jackie'll bully them both into it one of these days." The expression on his face said, quite clearly, 'or I'll know the reason why'.
The Doctor swallowed hard. "Think I'll go and check on the ladies. Fulfill all my duties as best man. Well, best alien. Best male alien, that's it. But check, you know, see if the bride's ready, make sure she hasn't climbed out a window, or ended up snatched by any passing spaceships. Oh, sorry, that was other Donna. Still, same dress. Well, not actually the same dress. It's completely different, really, but it's not too, because it is a wedding dress and as far as I know, they're all the same - expensive and generally white. Well, this one's not even white. Well, white-ish." He noticed everyone was staring at him, so he scratched absently at the back of his neck. "Still, it is... erm... poofy."
"Just go," Pete suggested calmly.
"Err, yeah," the Doctor said and, straightening his tie on what he sincerely hoped would not be the Tuxedo of Doom Two, he left the room. The door closed behind him, and he collapsed against the wall, breathing hard.
He still couldn't even remember how he'd gotten roped into being the best man. He liked Jake fine, but Ianto had known him longer, Pete knew him better, and Jake really didn't know him from Adam's house cat. Although he had overheard Jake joking that having an alien for a best man would definitely be a tale to tell your grandkids. Maybe that was it.
The door opened again and Ianto's hand held out his trainer, clutched between two fingers as if it were an abomination. The Doctor took it and muttered a polite thank you.
It wasn't that he didn't want to get married. Married was good, married to Rose was fantastic. It was just that... well, he didn't think it should be a topic of discussion, particularly on someone else's wedding day. That was it.
It was a toss-up, really, whether he or Rose was the more astounded to discover that Jake's fiance was none other than a parallel Donna Noble. A DoctorDonna, too, because she was an obstetrician. She and Jake had met when she ended up delivering an alien baby, according to Rose, who had known that bit, though not who the fiance actually was until they were introduced at the engagement party Jackie had thrown not a month after their return to this Universe.
Mind, Rose called her little brother an alien baby, so the Doctor wasn't entirely sure what she meant by that. Tony wasn't really a baby, after all. He was nearly three years old. The Doctor wasn't going to comment on the alien point.
The flower girl ran screeching down the hall - Sharen's daughter, if the Doctor remembered correctly. Ianto and Lisa's son came tearing after her, holding a bright red toy gun and demanding she halt in the name of Earth Defense.
The Doctor rolled his eyes. Torchwood weddings.
He looked down the hall at a familiar snort and found Rose leaning against the wall outside the bride's changing room, looking about as pale and put-upon as he felt. "You too?" he asked.
"You know it," she said, and reached down to tug at her stockings, roundly cursing them and the violently pink dress she was wearing.
Donna was a little vindictive in any Universe.
"I'm not sure if I should be complimenting you or trying to save you from that," the Doctor mused.
Rose shook her head. "Me either. Probably rescue, this dress is liable to convert back to its natural form and eat me any second."
Rose's mobile rang and she gave a little start. The Doctor grinned. It was a catchy little tune and, if he remembered, she'd assigned it about the time this wedding fever started to catch on. "Aren't you going to answer it?" he asked.
She definitely blushed and turned away from him. Interesting. When she turned back, she had the mobile in her hand and was explaining to someone that the Capatern ambassador would simply have to wait for a few hours. He rolled his eyes. "Tell 'em to give him tea and biscuits," the Doctor said. "He'll adore them, and then he'll sleep for a week."
Rose relayed these instructions, then rang off. The Doctor started down the hall, but Rose turned away from him, then turned back without the mobile. Really interesting.
Jackie flung the door open behind Rose, spotted him, and smiled dangerously. "There you are. Take Tony. Make sure he stays clean." And before he knew it, he had Rose's alien baby brother shoved into his arms.
"Doc!" Tony said happily.
"Hello, Tony," the Doctor replied, feeling a bit resigned. It was almost like Jackie had a sixth sense of when something was going on that she wouldn't particularly like. And he was thinking about trying to sort out the deal with Rose's mobile.
"When my mum says I look good in white," Rose sang quietly, the tune her mobile played, "I'm gonna be ready this time..."
"Actually," the Doctor reminded her, "since most of the wedding traditions are based on Victoriana, this Universe doesn't seem to adhere to most of them. Since Victoria is where the causal nexus occurred."
Rose shook her head. "I know," she agreed. "But my mum doesn't and..." She shivered rather intriguingly. "You know."
He nodded. He did know. "Getting married" wasn't their thing. It certainly wasn't his thing. One thing he hadn't counted on with this not-exactly-a-regeneration was his renewed tendency to get alarmed over domestics. It wasn't that he didn't want them - he'd wished for a normal life probably since before he ever left Gallifrey in the first place. But everything reminded him, always, that he really didn't deserve them.
Also, of course, he'd never mentioned they'd been married since maybe a week after he'd first met her. Never did get around to explaining that drink ceremony.
Tony pointed off down the hall. "Lonny," he said.
"Allonsy," the Doctor corrected for about the three hundredth time. Tony jerked his hand up and ran it through his ginger hair, making the lot of it stick up.
"Your mum's gonna kill me if you do that."
"Mummy say you're silly," Tony replied. Rose didn't seem to understand a word the child said, but the Doctor caught it every time.
"Of course she does," he agreed.
"You are silly," Tony added. "Not kissing Wose?"
"Not with you here. You always hit me."
"I not this time," Tony said in a sweet, apologetic tone.
The Doctor snorted and tried to straighten the child's hair. He had no more luck with it than he usually did with his own. "I don't believe you. I'll take you to your Dad, would you like that?"
"Yes, please," Tony said.
"Be right back," the Doctor said. "Just need to return the menace to his father."
"You two are adorable," Rose said and turned away again. She turned back and there was the mobile in her hand. Really, really interesting.
The Doctor grinned and turned Tony's head gently toward her. "Smile for Rose, Tony."
He turned bashful instead and buried his face in the Doctor's jacket. The Doctor laughed and shrugged a "what can you do?" back at Rose, holding still to let her get her photos. Then he went up the hall and let himself into the room he'd vacated through nerves earlier. Things seemed a bit calmer. Jake had been given a glass of age old port by Pete and seemed to be breathing now, at least.
"If you throw up, Donna'll slug you," the Doctor said, "so go easy on that." He turned to Pete then, and held out the child who was already grasping for his father. "Your offspring, sir," he said, in his best old-style butler impersonation.
"Your chaperone, you mean," Pete said with a smile. Nevertheless, he took Tony and went to the loo to find a comb.
The Doctor slipped back into the hall. Rose was still there, so he walked over and took her hand. "Are you all right?" he asked, nervously.
She sighed and leaned her head against the wall. "I'll never get used to this stuff, I really won't. I've been here a while now, been in this life, but really, my idea of a party is still a bender with the girls or some completely over the top do with you, followed by a thwarted coupe, blowing something up, staging a revolution, then running for our lives."
"We can do that, if you like, but Donna hits as hard as your mum. Well, other Donna does. This one too, probably. Still, after the wedding, we can definitely run for our lives."
"In these shoes?" she demanded. "How'd you get them to let you wear trainers?"
"Torchwood in joke, apparently. Even Ianto's wearing trainers." He scratched the back of his neck. "You know, I've never mentioned to him that the Ianto I know is shagging Jack."
She giggled. "I wouldn't if I were you, no. Not with the way you signed your paperwork."
He blushed vividly, as he'd completely forgotten that. "Yeah, good point."
"I think it's safest, really, if we just stick to Doctor for you." Her tongue poked through her teeth as she grinned at him. "Actually, it is technically a name, you know."
"Yes, but no one else does. To most people, it's a title, what you do."
"Not to you. It's who you are. In any Universe."
He smiled and hugged her close, but carefully, so as not to muss her carefully styled hair. "Thanks," he said, feeling more himself with her in his arms, at this moment, than he ever did standing at the TARDIS console alone.
"Why didn't you say John Smith, anyway?" she asked cheerfully. "You used to do all the time."
"Lots of reasons," he said. "But the most important one is that John Smith was a name I hid under, and I'm not hiding any more." He smiled at the fond, serious expression in her eyes. Really, there was nothing else for it but to kiss her. He leaned closer.
Her mobile rang, startling him away from her, but also, because he'd been so close to her when it rang, pinpointing its location. She stood there, looking alarmed and blushing brilliantly.
He chuckled. "You gonna answer that?" he asked as the merry little tune drifted up from her bright pink bodice.
She shook her head frantically. Feeling up to a bit of danger, he leaned close and whispered huskily in her ear, "You want me to answer it?"
"I didn't have any pockets," she protested. Hesitantly, with him watching her intently, her hand dove down the front of her dress and snagged the phone.
He grinned broadly, even though his head felt a little like it was swimming. Oh, to be a mobile phone...
She glowered at him as she answered the call. Oops, said that last bit aloud.
"No, it isn't the end of the world," she said into the phone. "Just... take a deep breath. OK, say that again."
The Doctor perked up. Disaster? Running? Much better.
"Fine. Just... argh! Get Mum's caterer on the other line and tell him to bring anything."
The Doctor wilted again. Not a proper disaster, then. Although, if someone had in some way damaged Donna's wedding, he wouldn't guarantee that.
"Yes, anything, cake squares will have to do. Just... don't blow this, Tina, or there'll be Donna Noble to pay." She listened intently. "Yes, trust me, that is worse than hell, thank you."
She flipped the phone shut and sighed. "Cake stolen and eaten by a hoix. Why is there always an alien?"
"Dunno. But I'm thinking that's a problem you're going to have for a long time."
"Forever," she corrected him, a relieved sparkle in her eyes.
"All right. So no cake. Well, not the normal kind. How long are they going to need?"
"Good," he said. "Then you go coax Donna into taking some pictures of you girls. Trust me when I tell you that her idea of candid photos will delay things nicely. I'll go check with the officiant, and we'll push things back about fifteen minutes. That'll give them time, since the ceremony is going to take bloody centuries, to get the cake here. That ok?"
"You know, for someone who's terrible at weddings, you sure seem to handle them well."
He sighed. "We can have a wedding if you want, Rose," he surrendered.
"Let's just shack up," she said flippantly. Then, she looked down at the pink dress. "Well, if I can find something hideous enough to exact revenge for this ghastly thing, I may change my mind."
He snorted and nodded. "Although, I can think of one good thing about it," he admitted. "Well, two good things."
"All right," she prompted.
"No pockets," he teased, risking a peek down her cleavage where the mobile phone rested in its very enviable position.
"And the other?" she asked, her hand shifting to block his view.
He smirked. "It'll look great on the floor," he said and turned to make a run for it.
Even in the ghastly shoes and the hideous dress, she still managed to get a good smack in on the back of his head.