Warning: Contains angst

Summary: The Doctor and Donna get the wrong message.

Disclaimer: Doctor Who is not mine and never will be.

A/N: Sorry, but this was written during a migraine.

Mixed Messages

She put her head on her arms and closed her eyes. He eyed her cautiously. She'd only been sitting at the kitchen table for a few minutes. Surely, she couldn't still be tired, could she?

She opened one eye and peered up at him. He had been standing there looking at her for a while now. Why didn't he talk to her? Was she that uninteresting? Why did it always come this, eh? It was always ended like this. They all tired of her in the end. It was to be expected really. She had entertained him for a while; taking his mind off losing… she didn't want to say the name to herself right now. She was beginning to understand how Martha had felt last year, though she felt aggrieved for different reasons to Martha. Poor deluded Martha she had said; charity Martha. Did that mean that she was going to become charity Donna to the next companion? He was bound to pick up someone else soon, someone faster, prettier, younger, blonder. Yeah, it was inevitable. But she'd had a good innings, she supposed, though not as long she'd hoped for when she had searched for him all that time. It wasn't up to her though, was it? Oh well, she'd better put on a show and a brave face, it would be more bearable that way.

"Morning, Spaceman!" she trilled. It didn't even sound happy to her own ears. Would he cotton on, and would he say anything?

He noticed the way her smile never reached her eyes, the tightness of her muscles, her suddenly change in stature that normally meant that she was squaring up for a fight she didn't want to take part in. He moved towards her in a bid to find out why she was upset, but she flinched away from him. It hurt that she had physically dismissed him. Normally she would accept him readily. It had been so easy to be open with her, much more open than his previous companions had ever allowed him to be. Did she mean that she no longer wanted to travel with him? Was she upset enough to go home? He quelled the panic that started to rise in him. He would save that for later, after he knew for certain what was happening.

"Donna? What's wrong?" he tried.

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong."

He knew that wasn't true. "Come on. Tell me, please," he softly asked. She looked up at him with such pain-filled eyes that he felt his hearts stutter. "Have I hurt you?"

"No, you would never deliberately hurt me, I know that. I'm… I'm just being silly really."

"Are you ill? Tell me if you're ill. I know where the best hospital in the universe is," he boasted. "They'll make you right as rain! I went there with…"

The name hung in the air between them, and he suddenly understood what the problem might be. He understood because Donna hadn't offered to fill in the gaps like she usually did. Damn, it had happened again, and it meant that it really was over between them because he knew that Donna would never admit to feeling anything, especially after the pact they had made. And once Donna realised he had guessed, she'd be off like a shot. He really didn't want that to happen. He forced his voice to be light as he asked, "Would you like some tea?"

"Yes please" she replied.

Some of the warmth returned to her eyes, those sparkling blue eyes, and he found himself captivated by them. If she was going to leave him, he needed to savour every last moment with her. Without even thinking, he hugged her to him. What had come over him? He hadn't behaved like this in eons. "Don't leave me," he heard himself whisper into her hair, "please don't."

She pulled back from his embrace and studied his face. "You don't want me to go?" she whispered back.

"No. Why would I want you to go? Surely you didn't think I would want that…did you?" he held her gaze, and saw the uncertainty there. Ah, so that had been the real reason for earlier, he had seen the problem from the wrong angle. He crushed her to him again, and silently thanked the gods for sending her to him, because he did not intend to ever let her go.