Title: The Name Game
Disclaimer: Cheers to those that do own them. I wish I did but I don't.
Summary: Ten/Donna. Friends don't keep secrets.
A/N: Totally inspired by a comment made by the glorious Catherine Tate on one of the DVD commentaries, I nicked her joke and stuck it in here.
"Augh! Just tell me!" Donna huffed for the third time. She stepped out from behind a curtain wearing the frilly dress of a milkmaid and nearly tripping over her boots.
"I said, no!" the Doctor called back from his own makeshift cubicle, rigged up within the wardrobe of the TARDIS.
Facing the long mirror, Donna smoothed her palms over the folds of her skirt. "Pleeease?"
"No!" he answered soundly.
"Please-please-please-please-please?!" she beseeched, an edge of exasperation to her pretend sweetness.
"Nope!" The other curtain swished open to reveal the Doctor in a rather short pair of lederhosen.
"But I barely know a thing about you!" Donna whined, hands on hips. Her eyes ran over the length of him: "Are you serious about these clothes?"
"You know all the best bits," the Doctor pointed out with a shrug.
"Yeah," she grumbled, as he elbowed her out of the way of the mirror: "the bits you want me to know."
"Exactly," he nodded. Adding a hat with feather to his ensemble, he turned to her with a toothy grin.
Donna looked supremely unimpressed. "I can not believe…" she sighed, as she bent to re-tie one of her boots: "that I agreed to fly away with a man who I don't even know the name of."
The Doctor eyed her in the mirror. "I'm the Doctor," he replied all too logically.
"I know that bit," she spat, eyes narrowed beneath her fringe: "What's your real name? Are you ever gonna tell me?"
"Like I said…" he turned to face her, telling her in a low voice: "That I don't tell anyone."
Donna wrinkled her nose at him, in no way put off by his taciturn tone. "Are you scared I'll laugh?"
"I won't laugh," she assured him, spreading her palms in front of her: "I promise."
The Doctor tutted ruefully: "Even so."
Her eyes glinted, curious and mischievous: "Is it something really embarrassing?"
He let out a breath: "No." He retreated to the long racks of clothes, riffling through them as Donna followed him about the little room.
"Is it Keith?" she guessed at random.
He made a face: "Keith?"
"Is it Nigel?"
"What about Herman?"
"No, no and definitely no!"
"Barney? Dickie? Chuckie?"
He chuckled slightly: "No!"
Donna paused: "Er….I dunno, Jeeves?"
She tapped him on the shoulder: "Doctor…?"
He turned to face her, holding a white Elvis-inspired creation against himself. "Yes?" he crooned.
She tilted her head at him in a way that seemed to entreat honesty. "Is it a girl's name?" she asked him earnestly.
"Is it some weird space language you think I won't be able to pronounce?" she said in a rush of words.
"'Cause I'm really good at languages you know," she insisted, finding a pair of long gloves and slipping them on: "When I spent that time in Spain, I picked up the language," she snapped her fingers with relish: "like that."
"That's not why," he replied.
"Then why?" she demanded, with a loud huff: "You know my name. It's only fair that I know yours."
"Do you ever take no for an answer?" he wondered rhetorically.
"You mean," she asked, incredulously: "you're really never gonna tell me?"
"That's what I'm trying to get across, yeah," he muttered.
He shrugged: "We-ell…"
"So there's some possibility?" she pressed, eyes lit up: "Some little loop-hole?"
He picked out a blue feathery creation, holding it up against her with an assessing eye. "If it were the direst of situations," he muttered absently: "perhaps… I might tell you…maybe…"
Donna pushed the garment away impatiently: "You know, friends aren't supposed to keep secrets from each other. I tell you everything."
"I'm aware of that," he murmured.
"How would you like it," she carried on, snipily: "if I just decided not to talk to you?"
"I'd be very worried," the Doctor admitted with a bob of his head.
He tossed a floppy wide-brimmed felt hat onto her head. "I'd be worried your head might erupt if you were quiet for more than two minutes," he grinned smugly.
"Donnaaa," he wheedled: "I tell you plenty of…stuff."
"I don't mean facts and figures," she grumbled, tossing the hat away: "I don't mean being my outer-space 'Pilot Guide'."
The Doctor grabbed a pair of yellow heart-shaped sunglasses and slipped them on. "Then what is it you want?" he asked in all seriousness.
Donna scoffed, exasperated: "Tell me-- your name!"
"For the last time," he replied, calmly: "I'm the Doctor."
"Right, you know what?" she snapped, marching back to her little enclosure: "From now on, I'm Julie. I want you to call me Julie. Julie is my new name."
The Doctor removed the glasses, trailing her: "Don't be ridiculous."
"How is that ridiculous?" she demanded, rounding on him: "At least it's a real name and not a job title," she fumed, yanking the curtain closed in his face.
"Donna--" he started.
"Who?" she called.
"Don't be silly, Donna."
"I'm not answering unless you use my real name," came the cross reply.
"Your real name is Donna," the Doctor insisted vehemently: "You could never be anyone other than 'Donna'! 'Donna' suits you perfectly."
"Well, too bad," she replied stubbornly, poking her tousled head out of the curtain: "because Donna is gone and Julie is here to stay. Say hello to your new travelling buddy."
"But I don't want a new travelling buddy--" the Doctor argued before he found himself talking to curtain again: "I don't want a Julie. I want my friend. I want Donna--"
"I'm sorry, Keith?" she sang: "I didn't catch that…?"
"I said I want Donna," the Doctor sighed from outside her cubicle: "I want my friend. The one who knows far more about me than she thinks."
Donna was suddenly silent.
"The one," the Doctor continued quietly: "who trusted me enough to come with me, even when she didn't know my name. The one who makes me laugh and always knows what to say. The one who keeps me honest. And keeps me going."
"And Julie couldn't do that?" she answered tentatively, still hidden.
The Doctor smiled to himself. "Frankly," he remarked as he went to change: "I don't like her attitude."
"Well, actually…" Donna began, her voice slightly hesitant: "she's not too keen on running about with a guy called Keith." She exited, dressed in her own, simple clothes. "A Keith can't rescue you from rabid aliens," she mused to the mirror: "or show you the wonders of the universe. And to be perfectly honest, I've never met a Keith who could tell a decent joke, let alone coordinate a pinstriped suit with trainers."
The Doctor appeared behind her, also in his regular clothes, shirtsleeves rolled up. "Well, then," he smiled: "looks like Keith and Julie…"
Donna scrunched her nose at his reflection: "Definitely out."
The Doctor slipped his tie over his head and tightened the knot. "Donna and the Doctor?" he asked, peering down his nose at her.
Donna rolled her eyes, apparently admitting defeat -- for the time being. "Yesss. Alright," she huffed, turning to face him and patting his tie into place. Her eyes flicked up to meet his, as her voice became suddenly stern: "But if you think for one second that I'm wearing that flipping outfit in public, then you are one seriously mistaken time traveller."
"Shame…." he mused, rubbing his jaw with one hand. As she brushed past him, the Doctor turned expectantly to call after her: "Just the boots then?"
A/N: For the record, I have a friend called Keith and he's lovely. No offence meant to anyone!