Chapter 16 – Blessing
When the Doctor entered the TARDIS Infirmary he found Donna sitting next to the incubator as he had been before, staring at the comatose baby within. Amy was swathed in bandages around her chest, a tube bigger than her arm giving her air into tiny lungs. The Doctor pulled on a shirt before taking a seat next to Donna, and surveying her face carefully.
"You alright?" he asked. She nodded silently. Instantly the Doctor knew something was hugely wrong. He nudged her and she looked up, her eyes shining with… were they tears?
"This is all my fault, right?" Donna asked, seemingly looking for some kind of confirmation.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "What is?"
"If I'd… She wouldn't… I should've…" Her eyes moved to the girl in the incubator, and the Doctor understood what this was about.
"Don't be ridiculous," the Doctor said, almost rudely. "Nothing could have changed what happened. Besides, she's fine. She just needs a bit of rest. In a couple of months she'll be as right as a trivet."
He watched as she unconsciously put her hand on her left arm; beneath the shirt a reel of bandages hiding the area the bullet had skimmed her. He reached up and rested his hand on hers, and she looked back up at him.
"It's okay," he said gently. "Really. Even if somehow you managed to clock that the bullet was going to come your way there wouldn't have been time to react."
"Maybe," Donna murmured. "I should've been more careful…"
"I should've got there quicker… Maybe if I'd moved over to you or held her a bit higher she'd have been fine! Or maybe if my arms were round her better I could have protected her. Maybe if I'd kicked the git with the gun as I walked past, I dunno, somethin'! She's just lyin' there like a scrap of nothin', and I can't do anythin'. I feel so useless."
Finally the Doctor realised what she was doing. She had bonded with his little baby just as he had. She was feeling very maternal, and he could understand it. She was his protector, his guide and his mentor - her own choice to put herself there. She had literally volunteered even though he had had no idea that there was such a post on offer.
"Donna," he said softly. "Do you want to hold her?"
She tore her gaze from him and looked at the baby in the incubator. "But if I touch her, won't she break?"
The Doctor smiled gently at her, leaning forward and taking the small body out of the incubator, careful not to dislodge any of the tubes. He pressed a kiss to his baby girl's forehead before offering her out to Donna, who took her into her arms as though she were made of glass.
For a moment Donna just held her, staring at her. She reached up a hand to stroke Amy's cheek, smiling down at the sleeping child.
"I hope you're not plannin' to leave her behind," Donna said suddenly, her smile erased as she looked up at the Doctor with sincerity.
"No!" he said instantly, defensive. "She stays in the TARDIS. For as long as she can stand it!" he added with a grin, before a frown creased his forehead. "Though, you do realise, this means people will think we're a couple even more than before?"
Donna looked back down at Amy. "I don't mind people thinking she's mine," she said after a moment's thought. "But if anyone says we're a couple they'd better have a bulletproof vest on!"
The Doctor grinned as the old Donna returned, taking Amy back and settling her inside the incubator. Donna got onto her feet. For a while they both just stared at the rise and fall of the infant's chest, breathing in and out contentedly despite her near-death experience. She had been so lucky – they had been so lucky.
"Will she have a scar?" Donna asked, gazing at the wrap of bandages around her chest.
The Doctor nodded. "Permanent, I'm afraid. Until she regen…." he trailed off, biting his lip as his eyes flickered over the body before him.
Donna's gazed at him. "What is it?" she asked, sensing his panic.
He quickly shook his head. "Nothing, sorry."
"Well, see you again soon guys!" Captain Jack Harkness was saying as Donna and the Doctor made their farewells to the Torchwood crew outside the TARDIS doors.
The Doctor bristled. "I hope not," he said jokingly, though he rested a palm on his stomach where the scar still lingered in allusion to the memory. Jack watched him as Donna embraced Gwen beside him, the Doctor's face with a smile but his eyes heavy with both exhaustion and worry. Jack made a step forward, taking the Doctor's arm and pulling him away from the others. The Time Lord looked at him quizzically.
"What's wrong?" Jack asked, and as he expected, the Doctor quickly shook his head and pulled away.
"Nothing, I'm fine," he replied.
Jack rolled his eyes and took his arm again, resisting the urge to shake him roughly by the shoulders. "No, seriously. Tell me what's wrong, or I may have to kiss you."
The Doctor sighed, his smile waning within moments. "I don't know if she can regenerate. She might not have enough Gallifreyan genes in her to muster it…" The Doctor's voice was breaking, "… what if she dies, Jack? What if she then withers and dies like every other human…"
Jack nodded, pausing to consider this. A parent should not outlive their child in the natural aging process. He dropped this from his mind, giving a smile to the man standing opposite him. "Well, she's only as human as whatever you gave her. You don't know the agin' process of that species that used you as a surrogate, do you? They could live for even longer than the Gallifreyans." He gazed firmly into the Doctor's eyes. "Even if you won't admit it, I know you're scared, and you shouldn't be. I don't know much about her, but what I do know is the beautiful baby girl lyin' in the infirmary has you, Donna, the TARDIS, and a lot of allies on her side – me included. So enjoy the moment. You deserve it. You said it yourself on the Valiant, Doc. Maybe that's what you need – someone to care for. And now you've got it."
The Doctor nodded only once, but the smile on his face said it all. For once he was the one to wrap his arms around Jack, engaging him into a manly hug.
"Thanks, Jack," he muttered.
"S'alright," he said. "I just want you to bring her back so I can see her every now and then!"
"I will," the Doctor replied as they pulled away again, the Doctor bounding back to Donna and the TARDIS doors.
"I'll see you again soon," Jack said, before digging into his pocket and holding up his phone. "I got your number now! Sorry for any drunken texts you get at five in the mornin'!"
The Doctor's old grin was reinstated, sketching a half wave to the Torchwood Three team before slipping in through the TARDIS doors behind Donna. All five members of Torchwood Three watched in fascination as there was a resounding thud and with a loud churning sound, the blue wooden box began to disappear from right in front of them with the white light atop flashing brightly. It finally disappeared altogether.
Jack sighed loudly, before spinning around and clapping his hands together. "Right! Back to work!" he announced, his team scattering in all directions as normal business resumed.
Torchwood Two would be back, Jack knew. Moore and his team would not stop now. All Jack could do was to divert their attentions slightly, help take a bit of the heat off of the Doctor. Because that's what friends are for.
He sat down at his desk for the first time since the Doctor had arrived, his eyes connecting with the two foot high stack of paper. He sighed again. Yup, business as usual.
He took the top sheet, and began to write.
A/N: Whilst I was writing this chapter my friend gave me a "what if" scenario concerning Amy, namely, just how paranoid would the Doctor be on Amy's first outing? :D It's kind of a link but kind of not-linked oneshot story that I'll be posting in a sec, if you're interested XD
In the coming months you'll be seeing a lot of crap like this from me - I've finished all my exams and literally have nothing to do until September! :D So I'll be writing. Lots. You have been warned...