They had stopped. They were right where it had happened the last time.
Dee Dee thought it felt somewhat anticlimactic. She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting - that the creature would instantly appear and kill them all, or that the Doctor would just suddenly start speaking? Nevertheless, it was strange to know that they were in the exact same spot, out of their own free will, just sitting there, waiting.
And they waited. Ten minutes, fifteen, twenty, and still, nothing happened. Gradually, she began to feel less anxious about all the horrible things that might happen and more worried of the opposite scenario. If nothing happened, no matter how long they waited, it could mean a dozen things. Maybe this wasn't the right place after all, or the time was wrong, or the creature just wasn't interested in them anymore. There was always the worst case scenario as well. If it had died when they had cast it out, and taken the Doctor's voice with it, then there was nothing they could do to help him.
"How long are we going to wait?" Jules asked cautiously.
"As long as it takes," Donna answered him.
They had been waiting for thirty-seven minutes exactly, when there was a knock at the back exit, just next to where Jules was standing. He stared at the door and stepped closer to it. "Dear gods, it's true! There really is something living out there," he breathed.
"Jules, get away from there!" Dee Dee screamed, but it was already too late.
There was an ear-splitting bang, the truck rocked on its wheels, and all the lights went off.
It was just like in Dee Dee's description of what had happened. First the knocking, then the lights.
Even though Donna was scared out of her wits, she was strangely relieved, too, and hopeful. At least something was happening. Coming here hadn't been all for nothing, after all.
After only a few seconds of perfect darkness, the lights blinked on again, although dimmer than before, allowing Donna to see what had happened.
The back door of the vehicle was bent inwards, as if a huge fist had banged on it. In front of it stood Doctor Bordon, with his back turned towards the others.
The Doctor was sitting up on the bunk, his eyes open, facing Donna and Dee Dee. "You came back for me," he said.
Donna was so immensely glad to hear his voice again that she wanted to run to him and grab him in a hug, but she'd only taken one step, when Dee Dee grabbed her arm to stop her.
"No, don't," she said urgently. "That's not him."
"Of course it's me," the Doctor said, but now that Donna was on guard, she could easily see that his expression was still all wrong, wide-eyed and strained - and she could hear Doctor Bordon speak the words simultaneously.
The cockpit door opened behind them. Donna didn't even turn to look. She heard Tanya grumble, "What in the blazes is gong on? Something just sucked away our power. We're running on emergency batteries now."
"It's not safe here," Dee Dee told her. "Please, go back to the cockpit, lock the door, and keep it closed, no matter what."
"Now, just listen, girl -" Tanya began.
"No, you listen to her," Donna said, her eyes still on the two unmoving men at the back of the room. "And do as she says."
"I'm the driver of this -"
"And I'm in charge here. Now, do it!" she said, in her most commanding tone.
"Whatever," Tanya mumbled, and Donna could hear the door close with a click, as it was locked.
"There's no need for any of this," the Doctor and Doctor Bordon said, except that it was really the creature talking. "We should go back to the Palace and sort this out."
"I don't think so," Donna said firmly.
"Then, this is going to be much more difficult and uncomfortable for everyone," the creature said. Doctor Bordon turned around slowly. His expression was every bit as horrified as the Doctor's.
Something was different from the last time. When the creature had taken the Doctor's voice, Mrs Silvestry had appeared almost normal, moving, speaking, gesturing. Now, Jules - oh dear, poor Jules, taken over by it! - was almost as still as the Doctor. More than that, the Doctor wasn't repeating Jules, but they were talking in unison.
"Are you threatening us?" Donna asked, sounding perfectly calm.
"Oh, yes. I'll make it plain for you: if you don't do as I say, you will all die."
Dee Dee and Donna glanced at each other. They knew what the creature was capable of, so that wasn't just an empty threat.
"I will -" Jules and the Doctor said, but fell silent mid-sentence.
"Don't listen to it," the Doctor said slowly, as if with huge effort, his face all scrunched up. Jules said it, too, but he clearly spoke a few seconds later. He was repeating the Doctor, now!
"That was him," Dee Dee whispered to Donna. "That was really him. Had to be."
"Donna, Dee Dee," the Doctor went on. "Listen carefully. I can't hold on much longer. All we need is hope."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Donna asked, sounding almost angry with him. "Is it a riddle? A secret message? An acronym - h, o, p, e?"
"Just -" the Doctor began, but that was as far as he got. He let out a pained cry, and his face was frozen in a grimace again.
"Hope? There is no hope, for any of you," Jules declared, and this time, the Doctor was the one repeating the words.
Blasted Doctor! He knew that Donna was no good at guessing games, couldn't he have been a bit more straightforward? "All we need is hope - that sounds like a song lyric, but it's not from any song I know. What could he possibly mean by it?"
"He also said 'just', so maybe... Maybe it meant just what he said, and that's all," Dee Dee suggested.
"What, that simply hoping is going to bring him back and drive it away?"
"Oh, don't be thick, Donna," the creature said - it was unnerving how much it sounded like something the Doctor might say, even though Doctor Bordon spoke first.
"I'm far from thick," Donna told the creature. "Obviously, we're on to something, because you don't like it." She took a few steps towards the two men. "And I've got plenty of hope. I've never stopped believing we can solve this, somehow, and I never will."
Dee Dee followed her lead. "We would never have come back here if we didn't have hope."
"It wasn't hope, it was your last resort, an act of desperation," the creature said.
Even though there might've been a grain of truth in that, Donna shook her head, and concentrated on hope. There was plenty of it. The Doctor was here, and his voice would be all his again. He would be back to normal.
She stepped even closer. "I don't know what you are, where you come from, or what you want, and I don't really care." She placed her hand on the Doctor's shoulder. "He's a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, and if you don't let him go, you're going to regret it."
Doctor Bordon approached her, a clearly threatening look on his face. "Time Lord? They are tiny and weak compared to me. You're the one who will regret," he said, and the Doctor repeated.
"I'm not afraid of you," Donna said, looking Bordon in the eye, meeting that alien glare without flinching, because the truth was, now that she really thought about it, she really wasn't all that scared. "I've seen much, much worse things than you. The Empress of the Racnoss, the Sontarans, the Vashta Nerada - I'm not afraid of some pathetic thing that has to steal the bodies and voices of others to be able to talk. Go away, leave us alone!"
"I'll rip this truck apart!" the creature declared, the two men speaking in unison this time.
"But you won't," Dee Dee said, approaching them too, doing her best to sound as confident as Donna did. "I think I've figured you out. You could've just torn the Crusader 50 to pieces, too, but you didn't. What you really want is, you want a body, and a voice, and you want to get to the Palace, among the people, and who knows what you'll do then. We're never going to take you there. Threatening to kill us won't help, and killing us will help you even less."
"You will die, all of you, you'll burn in the Midnight sun!"
"Maybe," Donna answered calmly. "But we hope we won't."
"There's nothing for you here. You've lost. Go away," the Doctor said, through clenched teeth, and it was just him. Jules didn't say a word.
Both men screamed, an inhuman sound, full of anger and fear and despair. The lights were flashing, blinking from overly bright to complete darkness, and the truck shook again, worse than before, as if it was coming apart, metal creaking and sparks flying. Dee Dee grabbed Donna's hand, and Donna moved closer to her, putting her arm around Dee Dee's shoulders. They clung to each other as much for solace as for balance.
Even though Dee Dee was terrified, she tried to hold on to hope, like the Doctor had asked. They might all die, but they might not, they might survive, all of them. Jules would be free, and the Doctor would be all right again.
Slowly, the chaos died away, the screaming faded into heavy breathing, the truck stilled again, and the lights were burning as brightly as they had before the creature had appeared.
Donna let go of Dee Dee, trying to catch her breath and to force her legs to stop shaking.
She looked around. Doctor Bordon was sitting on the floor in a corner, his knees pulled up, his forehead resting against them. As for the Doctor, he hadn't moved an inch. He still sat on the bunk, looking exhausted above all else, his mouth hanging open and his eyelids drooping. It was an expression almost as out of place on his face as the earlier blank stare. As Donna watched, he tilted sideways, slowly, until he was lying on his side.
Donna sat down on the bunk, right next to where his head rested, and put her hand on his arm. "Doctor?" she asked hesitantly.
The Doctor turned his head and craned his neck so he could see her. He blinked and quirked one eyebrow, as if only now registering she was there. "Donna?" he rasped, in a voice barely louder than a whisper.
"I'm right here." She gave his arm a squeeze.
He turned around so he was facing her, his weight resting on one elbow. "Oh, Donna, I -" he began, still sounding choked, his face so full of emotion that it was nearly unreadable - grief, guilt, relief, weariness, she couldn't tell. He licked his lips and opened his mouth as if to go on, but closed it again and shook his head.
She placed her hand on his back. "It's all right," she told him softly. "You're safe now."
He let out a long, shuddering breath, and shifted so he could wrap his arms around her, burying his face in her shoulder. He was shaking all over, breathing in huge gasps. Donna wasn't sure, but she thought he was sobbing, and the very idea made her feel chilled. Despite all the horrible things they'd been through before Midnight, she'd never seen him cry.
All through the encounter, all Donna's attention had clearly been on the Doctor, as if Jules wasn't even there. That had made Dee Dee all the more worried about him. Jules was out here only because Dee Dee had asked him to come, and she had only been thinking about the Doctor. She couldn't believe she'd been so heedless. The thought that losing Jules might be the price they had to pay to get the Doctor's voice back was just unthinkable. It wasn't worth that.
Once the worst was over, Donna naturally went to the Doctor, but Dee Dee only had eyes for Jules. She walked to him and knelt in front of him.
He lifted his face from his knees. "Is it really gone?" he asked, looking around, his eyes wide and wild, as if the creature might be lurking in the shadows or under the benches.
"Yes, it's gone," she said firmly. "It's over."
"It's o-" Jules began to repeat, and then seemed to realise what he was doing, and closed his mouth. He held out his hand and touched her cheek. "I missed you, Dee Dee."
"But I was here all the time," she said, baffled by both the gesture and his words.
"I wasn't. It was so cold and lonely..." Jules shook his head, looking more miserable than she'd ever seen him before.
She grabbed him in a hug, and he uncurled and leaned into it. It felt very strange - it wasn't like Dee Dee had never thought about hugging him, but definitely not like this.
All of a sudden, Jules started and sat bolt upright, slipping from her grip. "We're not moving," he said urgently. "We're still there, aren't we? It could come back!"
"It won't," she said soothingly. "You're right, though, we should return home."
She led him to the bunk that was still empty, covered his shoulders with a blanket, and walked to the cockpit door. She knocked, and instantly, Tanya opened the door, looking nothing short of furious.
"About bloody time someone told us something! What the hell is going on?"
"We... We had a bit of a... situation," Dee Dee stuttered. "It's all over now."
"We've got what we came for," Donna added from where she was sitting, still hugging the Doctor. "We should head back to base now."
"Right. You're not really from the Accident Investigation Board, are you?" Tanya asked, eyeing them suspiciously for the first time
"No, we're not," Dee Dee admitted. "But we've just saved a man's life, and you helped, because we couldn't have done it if you hadn't brought us here. Thank you."
"You're welcome, long as someone's paying for the fuel."
"We'll see to that. Now, are the engines working? Can we get home on our own?"
"Yeah, sure. Took some damage, but she's a tough truck. We'll make it, no problem."
The driver withdrew to the cockpit again. Soon, Dee Dee could feel the familiar rumble of the engines and the swaying of the vehicle as it picked up speed.
She returned to Jules and sat down next to him, keeping her eyes off the Doctor and Donna. As anxious as she was to hear how he was doing, their reunion seemed very intimate, and she didn't want to intrude.
"Are you all right?" she asked Jules.
"Physically unharmed," he answered her, with the ghost of a grin on his lips. "But I think I'm going to need a sick leave, anyway. Maybe you'd like to keep me company?"
"I'd like that, yes," Dee Dee answered him, moved closer, and put her arm around his shoulders.
Donna held the Doctor for several minutes, stroking his hair, rubbing his back, telling him over and over again that it was all right. Gradually, his shivering faded away, and his almost uncomfortably tight grip around her loosened.
He let go of her altogether, and leaned back to lock his eyes with hers. He still looked exhausted, and more than that, he looked his age, the centuries of his long life clearly visible in the depths of his brown eyes and the minute wrinkles around them.
"I'm sorry," the Doctor said.
"No need for that, silly. I've hugged much worse things than you," she told him, smiling.
He didn't return the smile, but still held her gaze, his expression dead serious. "Wasn't talking about that. I was scared, Donna. I almost couldn't do it. I could've got you all killed." He glanced at Dee Dee and Doctor Bordon, who were sitting opposite them, very close to each other.
"We took the risk willingly," Dee Dee said.
"I thought I could do it on my own," the Doctor went on, as if he hadn't heard her. "I was wrong. If it wasn't for the two of you, I never would've made it. Donna, Dee Dee, you were amazing, you truly were."
"Well, of course we were!" Donna proclaimed. "What did you expect?"
"From you, nothing less," he said, one corner of his mouth actually curling up. "From them, well, let's just say it was nice to be pleasantly surprised, for a change."
"Are you insulting us?" Doctor Bordon asked incredulously.
"No, he's thanking us," Dee Dee told him.
"For restoring my faith in humanity. I'm the Doctor, by the way. Not that you don't know that already, but I don't think we've been introduced properly," he told Doctor Bordon.
"Doctor Jules Bordon, your attending, Doctor," Bordon said with a slight grin, sizing him up. "So, are you feeling all right, now?"
"Actually, now that you ask, I'm parched, and starving," the Doctor answered. He lifted his hand in front of his face, eyeing the IV needle curiously. "This isn't helping much." His face took up a concentrated, introspective frown. "Not nearly enough sugar, and could use a touch of ginger."
"You're not serious!" Bordon exclaimed.
"Sure I am! Almost everything tastes better with a little ginger. I could also use a hot bath, and a long nap," he catalogued, sounding so close to normal that Donna found herself smiling. "Other than that, I'm all right."
"Let me check, just to be sure?"
"You think your computers know better than I do?" the Doctor asked, his tone genuinely surprised, not the least bit sarcastic.
"They may be a little more accurate," Bordon answered, stood up and walked over to the computer screen at the end of the Doctor's bed. He picked up a hand-held scanner and raised his eyebrows at the Doctor. "If you don't mind me taking a look?"
"Not at all, go ahead."
Doctor Bordon pointed the device at him, and peered at the monitor. "Everything looks fine to me," he declared. Donna was glad to hear that from him, knowing the Doctor's tendency to use the words "all right" in all sorts of weird ways.
"Hold on a second," Bordon said, looking from the screen to the Doctor and to the screen again. "If that's normal brain activity... Dear gods, you really were conscious all the time, weren't you?"
The Doctor simply nodded, his lips pursed.
"Then, there was that time when we were driving towards the accident site, and you suddenly fell into a coma, or something similar - gave us quite a scare, too - what happened?"
"Oh, that. All my fault, mostly. Slight miscalculation," the Doctor replied tersely, clearly uncomfortable with the subject. "I reached out towards my voice, and got my mind stuck, all tangled with the creature. Wasn't too happy about it myself. Although, if I hadn't done it, I might never have learned enough about it to be able to defeat it. Anyway, does anyone here have anything to eat? I really am starving. Quite literally."
"It's a rescue vehicle, I'm sure there are emergency rations," Dee Dee said.
Donna began rummaging the drawers under the benches, where Doctor Bordon had found the medical supplies. She was in luck: in the third compartment she looked in, she found instant meals packed in tin foil, bottles of water, which she passed to the others, and finally, at the bottom of it, a box that was filled with what were unmistakably chocolate bars.
The Doctor had already gulped down a whole bottle of water, when Donna stopped in front of him and placed her finding on his lap.
"Oh, just what I need! Lots of sugar, with flavonoids and theobromine and other useful things - and if I'm very lucky, maybe even some ginger. Donna Noble, I don't know how I ever survived without you," he said, and they both knew he wasn't joking.
For several minutes, the only sound in the room was that of eager munching of chocolate bars.
Dee Dee broke the silence, clearing her throat. "Doctor, what was it?" she asked cautiously. "That creature, I mean. What exactly happened?"
The Doctor let the latest empty wrapper flutter to the floor, and crossed his arms tightly, as if the room had suddenly grown cold. "Despair. That's what it was. Complete, pure, utter despair."
"So, that's why we needed hope?" Dee Dee said.
"That's ridiculous," Donna declared. "Despair stole your voice? We fought a feeling?"
"Not exactly, but it's a very long story."
"We're still over an hour away from the Pleasure Palace. Plenty of time for you to tell it," Doctor Bordon said.
So, the Doctor began telling his story, and Donna leaned back, feeling immensely glad just to listen to him speak, paint every detail in words, with quickly changing tones, accompanied by lively expressions - how she had missed that voice!
I've had people tell me that I talk to hear my own voice. Right now, I'll happily admit that's exactly what I'm doing. Now that I've finally managed to pull myself together, somewhat, all thanks to Donna, I could talk and talk and talk and never grow tired of it! Such a joy, to be able to express things - and to be free again!
I need restraint not to blurt out every thought in my head and to explain everything I feel and see around me. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, but I've got a story to tell, as much as I hate going back to those events in my thoughts - it brings back that feeling where I'm drowning in a bottomless pit of cold white light, where I - oh, stay in the here and now! These people deserve to hear it all. They need to know, so they can truly appreciate what they did.
"Once upon a time," I begin, but that's not right. "No, wait, not once, some specific time, but all the time, everywhere in time. Well. Once, there used to be these beings who saw even Time Lords as tightly tied to the passage of time. They were different, living beyond time, almost incomprehensible to most of us. They called themselves Eternals. But then, something happened, something that shook the very fabric of time and space, something so horrible -"
Oh, isn't this a cheerful story? I'm shivering again. A strange effect, that: a completely unrelated case throwing me off the track and back to that place which is so bright it's dark.
Donna's looking at me worriedly, her hand on my shoulder. "You don't need to do this now, Doctor."
"I do," I tell her. "So. There was the Time War." Move on, don't dwell on it. "And the Eternals went away, all of them, or so everyone thought. Now, some of these Eternals played the parts of, well, concepts, ideas, a little like gods - there was Death, and Time, for example, both of whom I met a few times. The Eternals weren't exactly a peaceful or nice people. They were so old and so far removed from the physical world that they needed mortals to be able to really feel, to be creative, to come up with new thoughts, and they didn't hesitate to abuse them. They also fought amongst themselves, which brings us to what happened here today. Apparently, there was an Eternal who rubbed the others the wrong way, one known as Despair."
"I'm still not sure if this makes any sense," Donna remarks.
"Shush," Dee Dee says. "You said all of them went away?"
"Yes. But long before that happened, some of them pulled a nasty trick on Despair. They trapped it, tied it to Midnight - an ideal place with its unusual extonic environment - so it would have to stay here until the end of the planet. Not a very long time if you're literally eternal, except that once it was linked to this place, it also became linked to time, like us Ephemerals, a fate unimaginably horrible to one like it. It sat here and waited, stuck without any new ideas or thoughts, seconds and minutes and days trudging by so very slowly and linearly, and inevitably, it became mad."
"A timeless creature who's a personification of despair, and crazy on top of that," Jules summarises, looking appalled. I can see it in his eyes: he remembers that freezing brightness, too.
"Yup. And then we showed up, a truckload of mortals, something it had been waiting for, for who knows how many millions of years, and it did what it could to live through us. If it hadn't been mad, things would've been very different, because now, it couldn't really remember what to do, and wasn't half as powerful as Eternals normally were. It was exploring both us and its own abilities."
"So, it wanted to be taken to the Palace, so it would have more minds to toy with?" Dee Dee asks.
"Yes. And it wanted me dead, because as long as I lived, I was still linked to my voice, and there was the risk that I might be able to do something about that."
"And you were," Donna says warmly.
"It was a close thing. Very, very close. Far too close. It really was Despair. That mental struggle, trying to push it away, out of my head, to force it to let go of my voice... All the time, it was telling me that there's no hope, that there's no point in even trying, that we're all going to die," I explain, concentrating really hard on keeping my mind clear of the cold dread that's once again threatening to rear its ugly head. "But since my mind was merged with Despair's, it could see everything I have already done, and what happened to other Eternals, and I had you for support, and so, finally, we were able to drive it away. Together."
"But it's still out there? Still waiting?" Jules asks, glancing around nervously as if expecting it to emerge from some dark corner.
"It is, but it's tied to that particular place. Otherwise, it would've come to the Palace a long time ago."
"So, we just need to tell everyone to avoid driving that way again?" Dee Dee asks, her hand clasping Jules's.
"Well, that might work - but I really think you'd better tell everyone that this planet isn't safe. Better build your Pleasure Palace somewhere else."
"Isn't there some way to get rid of it for good?" Jules suggests, still looking uneasy.
I shrug. "For you, no, not really. For me, maybe."
I might be able to do something about it, although the hostile environment of the planet makes it extremely difficult - and right now, facing Despair again isn't something I'm going to consider. I could return later. Possibly without Donna, because it's going to be risky.
"Anyway," I go on, "If anyone should run into it again, as we saw, all one needs to keep it at bay is hope. It went for Mrs Silvestry, because she was already desperate."
"That's it? Just hope? As simple as that?" Jules asks, making me realise what I've just implied: the Eternal went for him as well, and what that tells about his thoughts and feelings, well, it doesn't exactly make him appear brave.
"There's nothing simple about hope," I state. "It's not easy to hold on to it when everything is going wrong. And it's a powerful thing, too, powerful enough to make impossible things possible."
I'm not going to blame Jules. I almost lost hope myself during this ordeal, several times. Still, as unlikely as it might have seemed a few hours ago, eventually, we reach the Pleasure Palace, all of us shaken to the core, but otherwise all right. Well, relatively all right, I have to add, when I try to stand up, and my knees fold under my weight, so I just land on the bunk again.
"We've got a wheelchair..." Jules begins.
"No way!" I tell him. Not anymore, not if there's any other choice. Donna offers me her arm, and I try again, slowly. I feel like I've been trampled by a platoon of Judoon, bruised and aching all over, every muscle protesting. I don't think I've ever been this tired and sore in this body.
I'd like nothing more than to go straight to the TARDIS and leave Midnight behind for good, but Donna disagrees. "You're in no shape to fly, you'd probably take us into a black hole or something."
She might have a point, too. She leads me to my room, and tells me to change into swimming trunks, in a tone I'd be afraid to defy even if I wasn't far too tired to argue.
I've sometimes marvelled at how humans can spend hours and hours just loitering in warm water, doing nothing, but right now, soaking in a jacuzzi feels so wonderful that I could stay there for the next decade or so. When I'm starting to nod off into the bubbling water, Donna decides that's enough, and takes me back to my room.
"A hot bath and a long nap, that's what you prescribed yourself, Doctor, and I'm making sure you follow those orders."
"Thank you," I tell her, and sit down on the bed. "And good night, then."
She leaves, and I try to go to sleep, but the moment I'm lying down on the bed, I don't feel like sleeping anymore. Yes, I'm tired, incredibly so, didn't even know I could get this tired, but the things in my mind - the memory of being trapped in my own body, lying on my back, facing the ceiling, unable to turn my gaze - and the coldness and the bright white light and the despair... I'm afraid to close my eyes.
I realise I'm shivering once again. There are extra blankets in the closet, and I bury myself in a mound of them, but no amount of physical warmth will do away with this unnatural chill.
The soft knock at the door startles me so badly I almost fall off the bed.
It's Donna, of course. She lets herself in, standing in the doorway in her dressing gown, an odd look on her face - is it embarrassment?
"Sorry," she says. "I couldn't sleep. I was too worried."
"Well, I wasn't sleeping, either," I admit, and it comes through sounding every bit as miserable as I feel.
A rather awkward silence follows.
"Soo..." I begin.
"I could stay, if you don't mind," Donna says.
"It's a big bed. I might snore, though."
"I might slap you if you do."
She settles on the bed next to me, and I curl up beneath the covers again. The cold brightness suddenly feels much farther away. Before I know it, I'm fast asleep.
The following day, after what may be the biggest breakfast I've had in this body, we finally head to the TARDIS. Dee Dee and Jules are there, waiting for us. Donna must've called them.
"We told the authorities most of what you told us about Despair. I'm not sure how much of it they actually believed, but at least that area is now definitely off-limits to travel," Dee Dee tells us.
"What're you two up to, now, then?" Donna asks them. "Where do you go on holidays from a holiday resort?"
Dee Dee smirks. "School, actually."
"I'm applying for specialisation studies in xenomedicine," Jules explains, smiling as well. "So, the next time something like this happens, I might be more qualified. And it's the same university where she's studying."
"Good for you," I tell them. I was worried how they'd handle this whole experience, seeing as it wasn't exactly easy on any of us, but it seems to me they're going to get over it just fine.
"Where are you going next?" Jules asks.
"Don't really know yet," I answer truthfully.
"Someplace safe would be nice. Like, a planet where you can walk outside without getting vaporised, with lots of friendly people," Donna says. "And maybe some nice shops. A city break, you know."
I open the TARDIS door for her. "I think I know just the place!"
Jules shakes our hands, and Dee Dee gives us both a hug.
"Will we ever see the two of you again?" she asks.
"You never know. Maybe," I say, although I seriously doubt it.
I guess my scepticism shows, too, because Dee Dee answers, "I'll hope we will, then."