Title: Indispensable

Author: Mindy

Rating: K

Disclaimer: Characters are not mine and the lyrics are David Gray's. With respect and love to the authors of both.

Spoilers: "Midnight".

Summary: Ten /Donna. Doctor's POV. Companion piece to "Essential".

-x-x-x-

"This years love had better last.

Heaven knows it's high time,

I've been waiting on my own too long.

When you hold me like you do, it feels so right,

I start to forget how my heart gets torn,

When that hurt gets thrown, feeling like I can't go on…

Won't you kiss me on that midnight street?

Sweep me off my feet, singing ain't this life so sweet?"

It was only when he felt her arms fall about him, her cool cheek slide against his, her breath puff against his collar that he felt like he finally returned to himself, fully and consciously. It was only when he felt her slip readily into his arms that he realised how the thought of her waiting for him had sustained him.

Over the years, he had become accustomed to not sharing the full extent of his emotions with his human companions, mostly out of fear of overwhelming them. And there was something about Donna Noble particularly that always made him hold back just a little more. Or perhaps that was merely his past catching up with him.

He'd warned her, right at the beginning. He'd guarded against it in every possible way he could conceive of. He refused to fall again -- his hearts couldn't take it. He supposed that was part of reason he'd gravitated towards Donna Noble in the first place. He was pretty sure he wouldn't loose his heart this time. And he was doubly sure she wouldn't loose hers.

Donna Noble was a diamond in the rough and even he had been fooled initially by her crude exterior. She was brusque, impatient, inelegant and the walls around her heart were almost as heavily defended as those around his. It was no easy task gaining her trust, respect or affection. She was the antithesis to what he was used to and precisely what he'd needed.

Still, he really hadn't thought he would get as attached as he'd done, or so quickly. But then, he never did. He never really thought that far ahead. It always seemed so simple, so innocuous in the beginning.

For, whatever Donna Noble lacked in polish, she more than made up for in quality. Her warmth, her humour, her honesty, her very presence had become virtually indispensable to him. And that made him uneasy. Because they all said 'forever' so easily. They all promised their lifetimes, so passionately. But only the Doctor knew the meaning of those words.

As he stood in the sterile brightness of Midnight's upper pool deck, holding onto Donna Noble like she was his own personal, living touchstone, the Doctor wasn't sure he was ready to watch another woman walk out of his life. He wasn't at all sure he was prepared for that familiar agony to rage through his weary system. He had no idea how long Donna Noble would last with him. She was a tenacious character to say the least – but something told him it wouldn't be as long as she thought.

So for the first time since they'd met, the Doctor did not hold back with Donna Noble. When she embraced him, he held onto her with all the power that was in his tired arms. He breathed her in with both his lungs and both his hearts and he refused to let go til he was ready. Because he knew in his gut that, whatever she promised, he couldn't hold onto her forever. And that loosing Donna Noble, whether it was sooner or later, would break his old heart anew.

END.