Title: Kiss and Tell
Disclaimer: I own them not.
Spoilers: "The Unicorn and the Wasp".
Summary: Ten/Donna. Post-" The Unicorn and the Wasp". The Doctor and Donna discuss kissing -- in the hypothetical, of course.
The Doctor watched Donna slip into the vinyl booth opposite him. He eyed her carefully, dressed in the same pink blouse she'd worn when they arrived in the 1920's. Yawning widely, her eyes scanned the, by now, familiar menu.
Breakfast at the diner orbiting the Star of Jot had become something of a ritual with them. As was his propensity to not speak a word until after his new companion took her first sip of coffee. Nobody could accuse him of being a slow learner and the wrath of Donna Noble was not to be trifled with.
But, on this particular morning, something in him -- the intrepid, incorrigible troublemaker?-- couldn't help but take the considerable risk.
"So," he mused quietly: "that…was some kiss."
Donna raised her eyes from the menu, narrowed them momentarily then tilted her head and resumed reading.
The Doctor cleared his throat, cautiously trying again: "I said," he repeated, a little louder, a little bolder: "…that was some kiss you gave me."
"I heard you," she remarked shortly.
The Doctor nodded to himself: "Right," he replied: "I thought perhaps you'd forgotten that you practically snogged the lips off my face in a vintage kitchen surrounded by witnesses."
Her eyes closed over briefly. "Nope," she murmured mildly: "I remember."
"Oh. I've just never seen you with nothing to say," he replied falteringly: "it's rather shocking to be frank." He peered expectantly across the tabletop at her: "No quick retort? No smart comeback?"
Donna snapped her menu shut. "We-ell," she purred, this time rising to his challenge: "I've always wanted to know what martian tastes like."
The Doctor grinned: "And?"
She screwed her nose up at him: "Kinda fishy."
"That was the anchovies," he pointed out defensively.
"That's what you say," she retorted with a disdainful lisp.
The Doctor knit his brow at her, leaning in to murmur: "Is that some kind of challenge? Want me to prove it?"
"You wish," she snorted, as the mechanical waiter slid up to their booth to collect their usual order.
"So…" the Doctor muttered to himself, once the waiter had slid away again: "What's the matter with Donna?" He eyed her again, sitting across from him in uncharacteristic silence. "You need a detox?" he asked after a moment.
"I knew I'd never live this down." She sighed and planted her elbows on the tabletop: "Might I remind you that what I did saved your skinny alien hide?"
"And I am," he gestured emphatically: "filled with gratitude."
"Not what it sounds like," she muttered irritably.
"But," he began with a curious smile: "the question is…"
"Don't push it, fish face," she grumbled.
"Why that?" he clarified, shifting to the edge of his seat: "Why would you think… that would be a shock to me?"
She blinked incredulously at him: "That I would kiss you?"
"Ah…" he considered it for a second: "Yeah. Why's that shocking?"
"Oh please," she rolled her eyes at him, answering bluntly: "Well, obviously it was. It worked didn't it?"
"It certainly did," he admitted, bobbing his head repeatedly: "And if it hadn't--"
"We-ell…" he grinned rakishly: "at least I'd have died happy."
"Oi!" she chided, kicking him beneath the table: "You can't say things like that!"
The Doctor instinctively backed off. "What? Why?"
"Is this just your default setting or something?" she hissed, giving him a fierce, bewildered once-over.
"What have I done now?" he protested, rubbing his injured leg.
"Unbelievable!" she announced huffily: "You must be--" she jabbed an accusatory finger at him: "the most outrageous flirt in the Universe. All of them!"
"Was I flirting?" he questioned benignly.
"It's like some chronic compulsion with you," she continued, her head wagging with frustration: "You'll just flirt with anything!"
"Hey now--" he scolded: "how many times have I told you not to speak about yourself like that? Why shouldn't someone want to…flirt a little with you? That's a perfectly natural impulse." He caught sight of her livid expression and gulped, adding hesitantly: "Speaking quite hypothetically, of course."
She leant forward suddenly, holding up a hand: "Can I just take a minute to point out the complete bleeding obvious?"
The Doctor sniffed and muttered dubiously: "Could I possibly stop you?"
"Firstly," she started, her tone curt and implacable: "I am completely not your type."
"See, now, hate to interrupt--" he interjected, unable to hide his growing glee: "but that's the wonderful thing about me--" he pouted then corrected himself: "one of them anyway. I don't have a type. Never have done."
"Secondly--" Donna proceeded, regardless.
"Ooo," he smirked impishly: "there's more."
"I'm too old for you," she informed him.
"Well, technically," the Doctor pointed out: "I think I'm too old for you. Way too old."
"Don't get smart," she snapped: "you know what I mean."
"There's a significant age difference," he nodded amenably: "I get it. Happens to me a lot."
Donna waved her hands back and forth between them: "We're mates!"
The Doctor smiled at her fondly: "So we are."
"Good mates, right?" she insisted, eyes searching his face: "I mean, wasn't that the whole reason you let me come with you in the first place?"
"Well," he admitted thoughtfully: "not the whole reason."
Donna blinked: "What was the whole reason?"
"I like you," he replied simply, meeting her leery gaze: "thought you might come in handy. And you certainly proved that yesterday."
"Would you stop," she groaned: "banging on about it?
"Can't help it!" he sniggered, enjoying her torment a little more than he knew he should: "It's seared into my memory."
"Leave it there," she ordered, leaning closer to emphasise: "It didn't mean anything--"
He nodded meekly: "No, I know. 'Course not."
"--and it's never gonna happen again!"
"Never's an awful long time," he offered gingerly.
"Never say never."
"Everyone gets lonely, it's only natural that you--"
"Oi!" she interjected, spreading her palms in a gesture of stifled irritation: "It was just a kiss!"
The Doctor grunted: "No such thing, in my experience."
"Listen, you--" she told him grimly: "let's just get this straight, okay? If you think for one second that I had any other reason--" she interrupted herself, shaking her head to clear it: "All I was thinking about was keeping you alive. Oright? That's it!"
Quizzical eyes scanned her face: "That's all?"
"Yes!" she insisted vehemently: "I thought you were going to die!"
"I wasn't going to die," he told her flippantly.
"Just a little cyanide," he made a face and shrugged: "survived much worse than that."
Donna sagged in her seat: "Augh."
"You mean to tell me," he mused incredulously: "that's what you were thinking about?"
"I mean, while you were kissing me?" He ran a hand over his jaw, looking deeply perplexed: "That's all that was going on in your head?"
Donna gave a vague shrug: "Yeah."
His brow collapsed as he gazed into the distance, slightly affronted: "Well, that's… bizarre."
She peered at him out of the corners of her eyes, her tone turning wary: "Why? What was in your head?"
He chuckled mordantly: "Nice try. No way in the world."
He shook his head decisively: "Not in a hundred years." He leant in to catch her gaze and was unable to stop his eyes dropping to her mouth. "My lips," he murmured: "are sealed."
Donna rolled her eyes and fell back in her seat: "Whatever." She pulled her coffee closer as the waiter delivered their drinks: "Don't think I wanna know."
"You can hardly blame me," the Doctor shrugged, after a moment. He peered over the brim of his mug at her, inexplicably unable to desist: "Like I said, Donna… that was some kiss."
Donna raised her eyebrows but did not meet his gaze: "Was it?"
"What do you mean, 'was it'?" he scoffed, spreading his arms out along the back of the booth. "You were there!" he pointed out, then amended sullenly: "Not paying much attention apparently, but you were definitely doing most of the work."
"Ain't that the truth," she muttered into her mug.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
She sighed, her lips twisting slightly: "Thing is, Doctor…and don't take this the wrong way…"
"No good can come of that sentence," he murmured under his breath.
"It's just…" Donna shrugged, then admitted rather matter-of-factly: "I've never been the type to go all weak at the knees." She vacillated, glancing out the window for a moment, before adding: "I mean… I never really got what all the fuss was about."
"Are you saying," he wondered, his voice both cautious and curious: "in all your years--?"
Her eyes narrowed: "Watch it."
"Not one earthly fool ever…?"
"What?" she questioned evasively.
The Doctor gazed at her in stunned disbelief: "No one's ever kissed you properly?"
"Hey," she smirked half-heartedly: "I've had more boyfriends in my lifetime than you've had batty ideas."
"Yes, but we're not talking quantity, are we?" he pressed. He leant forward, his eyes never leaving her face: "We're talking quality."
Donna licked her lips and opened her mouth to speak. She exhaled, then closed it. Her gaze lowered as she took another long sip of coffee.
"They haven't have they?" he murmured tentatively, shaking his head in wonder: "And you call me a dunce."
She looked up sharply: "Oi--"
"I'm not talking about you," he blurted out adamantly: "I'm talking about them!" He drew in a breath, still watching her closely, confusedly: "You mean, no one's ever made your legs give out? No one's ever made your head spin and your skin burn and your heart drop to the pit of your stomach?"
She raised one shoulder in response, staying silent. Eventually, her eyes met his, composed yet candid.
"Oh, Donna," he sighed after a moment: "I think you've been kissing the wrong men."
"Tell me about it," she replied, mouth lifting in one corner.
"But," he ventured carefully: "…what about Lance? You were going to marry him."
"Yeah," she shrugged, hands wrapped about her mug: "because he was a good guy. I thought." She took a sip, muttering: "Not because he made my toes curl."
"He didn't make your toes curl?"
"I did love him," she added, her voice growing distant: "I thought…I really thought we could have a laugh, share a life, you know, be there for each other, like…"
"Like…" he prompted: "mates?"
Donna frowned. "In a way."
"Like," he added, pointing at her then himself: "You and me?"
Donna pursed her lips then replied shirtily: "Minus the white wedding, thirty-year mortgage and two-point-three kids -- then yeah. Just like you and me."
He tipped his head at her: "But no toe-curling for Donna Noble? Seems like a bit of a waste."
Donna shrugged carelessly: "That stuff doesn't last anyway."
"True," he acknowledged, adding with a half-smirk: "But while it lasts…"
She hummed knowingly: "I'll bet you've done more than your fair share of toe-curling, spaceman."
The Doctor looked indignant: "Why d'you say that?"
She sucked in a breath through her teeth. "Feminine instinct."
"I'll tell you something," the Doctor cleared his throat, leaning in with a conspiratorial air: "I was sixty-three years old before I got my first kiss."
"Sixty-three?" Donna winced, all warmth returning to her blue eyes: "Were you a little Gallifrey geek there, spaceman?" she murmured amusedly: "Did you have spots and thick-rimmed glasses or something?"
He ignored her teasing, informing her haughtily: "Kissing wasn't common practice on my planet. It was thought to be a prosaic custom from an unenlightened culture. Out-dated and primitive."
Her eyes widened in mild alarm. "Sound like a right laugh, your lot," she mumbled.
"I was," he took in a breath as he tried to remember: "oh…well over a hundred before I got my first… really good… kiss."
She was watching him with a closed-lipped smile: "And?"
"Oooo," he breathed, a wry twist to his lips: "I liked it."
"I'll bet," she laughed, rolling her eyes.
"Wasn't very good at it, mind you," he added with a sigh. He held up his hands, examining them detachedly: "Couldn't figure out what to do with these."
"Still can't," Donna noted, slyly: "from what I could tell."
"Is that another challenge?" he grinned boldly.
This time she smiled, raising one eyebrow. "You're the one that keeps bringing it up."
"Well," he murmured, curling his hand about the nape of his neck: "It's not every day a man gets snogged within an inch of his life."
"Are you kidding?" Donna blew some air out between her lips: "That was nothing."
"Excuse me?" The Doctor looked at her incredulously: "What in heaven do you do when you're really trying?"
"Is that a challenge?" Donna cocked her head at him, slightly suspicious: "Want me to put my money where my mouth is?"
"Interesting adage," he mused to himself. He laid a hand against his chest: "But I'm not sure I could take it."
"Yeah," she said smugly, tossing her hair over one shoulder: "Most men can't, you know."
"But, I…" he pointed out: "am not most men."
Donna examined him for a moment, a small smile curling her lips. "I can't argue with that."
"That's certainly a first," he noted with surprise.
"Sorry, time boy," she tutted, reaching out to pat his arm: "But I don't kiss and tell."
"You mean," he grinned, spreading himself out in the booth once again: "I have managed to stumble across the one subject on which Donna Noble has absolutely nothing to express?"
She made a low noise in the back of her throat: "Every woman has to maintain some level of mystery. Especially around you."
"Why especially?" he pouted, as their plates were deposited in front of them
She levelled him with a pitying look: "Don't worry, spaceman. Give it some time and if you make it to nine hundred and sixty-three, I might--" she paused for effect, eyes twinkling: "let you in on a few secrets."
"Like?" he hinted, hopefully.
"Like what to do with those paws of yours," she remarked bluntly, peppering her food.
"I'll be counting down the days," he breathed. He tucked his napkin into his collar with an anticipatory air. "I like secrets. And I'm a very fast learner, too."
Donna humphed: "You're a troublemaker, is what you are."
"But why wait? In fact--" he waggled his eyebrows at her, offering gleefully: "we could exchange secrets. I might just have a few tips for you."
"Oh yeah?" she mused archly: "Like what?"
He leaned in close: "Choose better men."
She waved her fork in the air: "Why do you think I left Earth?"
"Donna Noble," he sighed dramatically: "Breaking hearts all over the galaxy."
She took a large mouthful of toast: "Are you done, fish lips?"
"Ah," he continued, undeterred: "what male could possibly resist?"
Donna gave him another kick beneath the table: "Eat your breakfast."
"Ow!" he sulked, glaring at her from under his brows: "Bully."
Her eyes cut to his: "Geek."
The Doctor obediently picked up his fork: "I'm done."