Author's Note: affirmation pppllleeeeeaaaaassssseee, no but really i would love some feedback, because mostly it's my sister and brother and they never say anything nice...like ever...about anything, not even themselves.
He slid into the car and as he did so Donna slammed her eyes shut. She nearly smashed her face into the steering wheel as her back bowed and she crumpled in her seat, sobbing as she gripped the wheel in a death grip.
Donna heard the creaking of his leather seat before she felt his hand descend on her back, resting there with his long fingers held still. "Donna," he said quietly as his other hand came to rest on top of her own on the steering wheel.
She felt like she was hyperventilating, like there wasn't enough air in the little car, and with that thought she lunged for her door. But the Doctor's hand on her back was suddenly an arm encased around her shoulders, he held her in her seat as he contorted himself over the arm rest. "Donna, come on," he hushed, rocking them slightly, "Just breath, that's it, deep breaths."
"I murdered him!" she choked out as she tried to shake out of the Doctor's grip. His presence was suddenly overwhelming, the concern she knew would be in his eyes (wished for not that long ago) now unwelcome. "Oh my god, oh god, what have I done?"
"You didn't, Donna, listen to me," the Doctor said, his voice strong, "you've done nothing wrong."
She looked up at him, neck bent at an uncomfortable angle to be able to look him in the eye, "He's dying in there! Oh god, I could have rung an ambulance, but I didn't...I didn't do it...oh god."
"It's a fixed point in time, Donna, you couldn't change it, listen to me."
"I still could, we need to call an ambulance," she fumbled for her phone, her hand shaking as the Doctor grabbed it and held it in a firm grip. She looked up at him in surprise, "It's what you do, save people," she said softly.
"We can't change this," he said, raising the hand in his grip to hold it against his chest.
Her unsteady breath became even more eratic and her whole body shook in the effort to control her tears, "Why?" she gasped.
"Some things you can change, you can save people," he said, "but sometimes you can't change it. It's the way it always has to be."
"And you can tell?" she asked desperately, "You can tell when we can't change it? Are you sure?"
He squeezed her round the shoulders softly, "I'm certain, Donna, and this is the way it has to be. You couldn't have done anything; it's not your fault. I promise, Donna."
Her gaze caught on where his hand was encasing her own against his chest, his thumb rubbing back and forth over her knuckles. "I...but I'm glad too, is that horrible, and I shouldn't be, should I? I'm glad he-"
The Doctor fell back into his seat, dragging her bodily across the car, cutting her off thoroughly. When they came to rest Donna was wrapped up in his long skinny arms, sitting half on his lap, half on the arm rest between the passenger and driver seats. Her ear was pressed against his chest, and she could swear she heard the twin beating of his hearts as he rested his chin against the top of her head. She wanted to rage and struggle, she didn't deserve his comfort or his support, but she stayed still in his embrace and rubbed the moisture from her eyes, trying to collect herself, to put up the brave front she had worn all her life.
"That...it only makes sense, Donna, it's not horrible, it's just..."
"I'm glad he died," she continued, as if he hadn't said anything at all. "I'm happy, because...I wouldn't have left," she went on, her voice muffled against his chest.
His arms around her tightened uncomfortably, he shook his head but didn't say anything.
They sat there quietly until a police car pulled in front of the building, and then another, and then a while after that the coroners van. When the body was wheeled out, covered and zipped in a bag, Donna still shook, remembering his little smirk. The little smirk she still saw in her nightmares, years and years after his death, after years and years of knowing he would never touch her again. A little while after that Donna felt the Doctor's whole body grow rigid, his arms suddenly stiff and holding her tightly against himself, pulling her fully into his lap. She didn't have to look to know exactly who he had just seen hobbling up the street.
She remembered what she'd looked like that day, bruised, swollen, and beaten.
She didn't turn to see.
"Let's get a move on," she said brusquely, all elbows as she maneuvered her way back to her seat. "Come on," she said with an undignified sniff of her nose and one last sweep of her eyes.
The Doctor rubbed at his chest were one of her flying elbows had hit him square, he looked at her, his eyes sad.
Donna cleared her throat as she started the motor and began to pull out of their space, "Where's Martha?"
The Doctor finally looked away from her as he buckled his seat belt, "She's waiting at Billy and Sally's."
"So you've seen Jamie then?" Donna asked, apprehension growing, because once again the Doctor had quite thoroughly missed a solid chunk of his sons life.
"No," he said, "no, I needed to find you first."
"Oh," Donna said, unsure what exactly he meant by that. "Doctor," she said with a sideways glance at him, "James was here for a bit more than me, the statue got him first, sent him earlier."
The Doctor's gripped the arm rest tightly, "How old is he?" he asked, smiling at her, "Don't tell me he's as tall as you now," he joked, but Donna knew, could see in his eyes, the pain of losing so much time.
"No, no," she said with a shake of her head as they passed through an intersection, "he was here for about three months before me, and we've been here together for about one."
He didn't look as though he had anything to say, or at least anything he wanted to share with her so she continued, "Can't shut his gob that one, you'll see, he knows so many words. Can't put them together in any way at all, not in sentances, full ones at least. Can't quite say his L's." She glanced at him again, pouting softly without meaning too as she watched the conflicted emotions flickering across the Doctor's brow. "He's so smart," she finished, suddenly somber, "Those Time Lord genes, wonders those are."
"Donna," the Doctor said as he turned in his seat to regard her profile fully, "I need to say that I'm sorry about what I said. Right before the Angel sent you here, I...do you remember?"
"Yeah," she said softly as she turned the car, "I remember."
The Doctor tugged on his seatbelt to keep it from digging into his shoulder as he leaned forward, not quite touching her, but close, "You're a brillia-"
"I'm sorry I kissed you," Donna steamrolled quickly, cutting him off.
The Doctor's mouth worked soundlessly for a second before Donna continued. "In nineteen thirteen, well, I suppose it wasn't you really, John Smith, I'm sorry I kissed him." Her foot pressed on the gas harder than necessary, sending them careening down the street, "And I lied to him, I'm sorry, but it was the only way for you to get out of that blooming watch!" Her foot slammed down on the brakes as they came to an intersection, halting them within a hands breath of another vehicles backend.
"I, I couldn't think of another way then to tell him everything he wanted to hear," she gesticulated wildly, eyes intent on the car ahead of them. "It's all my fault, this, all this," she said as she flapped a hand between himself and her, "god, I'm so stupid, Doctor I'm so sorry."
"Don't say that, Donna," he said, shaking his head as he returned to sitting the right way in his seat, "you're not stupid, you're brilliant." He chose to ignore Donna rolling her eyes at that. He ran a hand through his hair, ruffling the already well ruffled coif on top of his head. "And you shouldn't be sorry, I'm the one-" he stopped himself, "he's the one who kissed you, Donna. He knew you were lying, and he did it all anyway."
"He knew?" Donna asked incredulously, replaying the moment John Smith opened the watch. He had looked at her with tears in his eyes, an agonized expression on his face, as if, as if...he'd known all along.
"When you're about to lie you tilt your head," the Doctor said, grinning slightly.
"Why did he do it then?!" she screeched, suddenly furious. "Why did he do it if he knew that was the end of him?!"
"He knew it would make you happy," the Doctor said, looking out his window, his hand cradling his chin as if he were observing the weather and not breaking Donna's heart.
Donna, composure in place, took the unexpected blow with crumpled brow, her head turning away from the Doctor for a moment. They had left the intersection behind when it occurred to Donna that the Doctor knew an awful lot about what John Smith thought. "Do you remember being him?" she asked.
"Yes," the Doctor said, quiet now that they were nearing Billy's place, nearing the son he wanted desperately to see, to hold.
"He loved me," Donna muttered.
The Doctor turned to regard her, his expression an interesting mix of emotions, but through all that Donna still had no idea what he was really thinking.
Donna shook her head with a disbelieving and sad snort, "The poor sod."
The Doctor frowned and turned away.
Jamie, all bundled in his coat, was giggling madly while Martha chased him around the Shipton's front garden as Donna pulled the car into the drive. Before the car had even fully stopped the Doctor had bounded out his door, long coat flipping wildly in the wind as he strode towards the little boy now noticing his fathers presence. James eyes widened, he pelted forward, as fast as his little legs would carry him. His little hands grasping in front of him as he beamed up at the much taller being who suddenly swept him up in a tight embrace. Both boy and father laughed, their beaming faces resembling each other for a moment before Donna blinked and remembered that James didn't look at all like the Doctor.
"Oh that's my brilliant boy!" The Doctor cried, swaying with the boy sprawled happily against his chest, held their safely with the Doctor's arms wrapped around him. "I've missed you, yes I have, my little James."
James smiled up at him, showing off an impressive collection of teeth, "Doctor!" he cried happily, bouncing in his fathers grasp.
Donna blanched immedietly, all those days of telling Jamie that they're waiting for the Doctor, that the Doctor will come for them, that the Doctor will come with the blue box, that the Doctor was the man with the pointy hair, do you remember him? All those days came rushing back and she instantly realized that she'd made a terrible mistake, realized that she should have been saying 'Daddy' will be coming for us, 'Daddy' with the pointy hair and wide smile. She looked apprehensively at the Doctor, and flinched as she saw the naked hurt laid bare in his eyes as he stood speechless looking at his baby boy that wasn't really a baby anymore. She rushed forward and brushed Jamie's hair away from his face, "No, James," she laid a hand on the Doctor's chest, tapping it, "Daddy," she said.
Jamie scrunched his face in confusion, and wiggled in the Doctor's grasp until he was put down. "Doctor!" he cried as he began once again to pounce at Martha, "Doctor! Doctor!"