Spoilers: Includes characters referred to in "Ghosts of India".
Summary: Donna and the Doctor have a d- doing something together moment at a housewarming party.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Doctor Who, but I do own a garden chair.
Chapter 5 - Doing Nothing But Partying Together
It had taken very careful negotiations for the Doctor and Donna to agree that their next attempt at d-doing something together would be attending her cousin Janice's housewarming party. Donna argued that he needed to practise his general social skills, whereas the Doctor argued that he needed to avoid her family at all costs. Well, when he said her family, he really meant her mother. Donna totally sympathised. They decided that in the unlikely event of her mother bothering to drive all that way around the M25 it would be Donna's responsibility to deal with her mother's reaction, whatever that may be. They had also both agreed that it wasn't likely to be favourable. As for the rest of the family, Donna had high hopes.
As they opened the TARDIS doors, they were assaulted by glorious sunshine and the smell of beefburgers on a barbeque. It was one of those smells that both appealed and repelled at the same time. The Doctor tried to back away, so Donna grabbed his hand, pulled him forward, and out through the doors. It had taken all her powers of persuasion to get him to leave his overcoat behind earlier. They had parked the TARDIS just by the back gate of Janice's new home. It was a small garden, with an attached garage, but it was manageable for someone who worked all the week in London.
"Donna!" she was immediately greeted with a fierce hug from her cousin Janice before she stepped further towards the house. "I don't remember you arriving at the front door. How've you been?"
Donna extricated herself carefully from the hug and beamed at Janice, "Fine. I've been fine. How are you?"
"All the better for seeing you. Long time no see." Janice faltered slightly as she caught sight of the Doctor. "Oh! Sorry, didn't see you there for a minute. You must be the Doctor?" He nodded and went to shake her hand, but she thwarted that by grabbing him into a hug too. He blushed. "Aw! Look at that! I've embarrassed you! Sorry, love. Hasn't Donna warned you about me?"
"No, she hasn't said anything," he stammered. Did huggers need warnings now?
Janice took hold of Donna's left hand and held it up for inspection. "I see you still haven't made an honest woman of her."
"Janice!" Donna exclaimed, and the Doctor spluttered. "It isn't like that between us," Donna insisted.
Janice glanced between the two of them and said, "Yeah, I bet that's what you say to everyone." The way Donna and the Doctor were now holding hands made her smirk. "Don't mind me, Doctor; I'm just trying to make everyone as happy as I am."
"Talking of which, where is that gorgeous husband of yours?" Donna asked as she looked around the garden.
"I think he's inside dishing out cold fruit drinks in the kitchen. Who'd have thought I'd let a man stop me drinking alcohol?" Janice and Donna giggled together. The Doctor felt none the wiser. At his puzzled expression, Janice said to him, "She really has told you nothing, has she? He doesn't drink for religious reasons, whereas drinking was my religion before I met him!" at which she and Donna giggled again. "Don't worry, he's very understanding about my needs, in both the meat and drink department. And even more understanding about my family!"
"Oi! Watch it you!" Donna playfully threatened her. "Though judging by your behaviour…" and dodged out of the way of a swat.
"Come on," Janice took hold of both of them, "let me give you both the grand tour, and introduce you to everyone." She led them into the house.
The Doctor was finding this family housewarming party a bewildering experience. It had been weird meeting most of Donna's family again; especially seeing their reaction when it was explained exactly where they had seen him last. Yeah, he was beginning to feel he would never live that wedding down. It was the knowing way they all said "Oh yes" as if he had deliberately replaced Lance in Donna's life, as if that had been his intention all along. Okay, his intention had been to get rid of Lance at one point on the day, but replacing Lance with himself had only occurred to him much later. Not that he had to justify himself to them or anything. But it still felt odd. And they all acted as though they knew something he didn't about this situation, something going unsaid. Janice had seemed friendly enough, maybe he could ask her later.
He stood munching on a samosa as Donna joined him by the entrance to the hallway, after talking animatedly with her aunt. "How many of those have you worked your way through, Spaceman?" she smiled at him.
"Erm…" he tried to talk past the last mouthful he had, "I've lost count."
"Lost count or lost the will to tell me?" she asked, moving closer.
"A bit of both. Why, are you keeping tabs on me? Would you like a bite?"
"I certainly have to keep an eye on you, don't I? And what exactly are you offering me a bite of?"
"You don't have to keep only your eyes on me, you know," he offered in sultry tones. "You can have a bite of anything I have to offer."
"Is that so?" she purred, as he nodded. "What would you recommend I… bite… first?" She began to wrap her hands around his neck as his hands moved to her waist.
He gulped as he watched her lick her lips, the need to claim them began to overwhelm him again. "How about we start with nibbles and work our way up to bites?" he dropped his gaze to her lips and brought his voice down lower.
"How will I even know where to start nibbling?" Donna leant in towards him further. "I might not like what I try."
"Then we could always have a small taster, just to see…" he began, as he brought his mouth near to hers. He felt Donna gasp a little as he slid his hands up her back to pull her closer still.
As her lips touched his, they both heard a loud, "Donna! How could you? And with him of all people!"
They whirled apart to be faced a very angry Sylvia glaring at them from inside the front door, and a gleeful Wilf behind her. "Hello Mum!" Donna hesitantly tried. "I didn't know you were coming here."
"That's obvious, missy!" Sylvia almost spat at her.
"Aunt Sylvia! Granddad! How lovely to see you again," Janice chimed in at that moment, rescuing Donna from her mother's scorn. "Come out into the garden and have something to eat and drink."
Sylvia obviously wanted to stand there and continue berating Donna, but politeness overruled her anger, so she allowed herself to be led away. Wilf, however, lingered and took his chance to embrace Donna. "Hello my girl!" he beamed before he shook the Doctor's hand, "Hello Doctor!"
"Aw! Hello Gramps!" Donna replied. "I was beginning to think you weren't coming today."
"What? And miss the chance to see you and the family? Not on your nelly!" Wilf chuckled. "I need to get my latest update on what you two have been up to."
"What we've been doing?" Donna asked, as both she and the Doctor blushed profusely. How do you explain catching each other naked and pawing at each other whilst almost naked? No, that sort of thing was best unmentioned, especially to Gramps.
"Aye aye, like that is it?" Wilf winked at the pair of them, "Thought as much. Your mother spoke to one of your friends yesterday. Alice is it?"
"Oh God, no! What did she say?" Donna gasped and looked most agitated.
"I've no idea, but it was enough to make your mother drive all the way over here to the other side of London. What have I missed?" asked Wilf, as he scanned the pair of them in front of him. They weren't giving away a lot of clues though they still stood close to each other with clasped hands. "Did she spot you buying an engagement ring or something?"
"Course not! We only bought the Doctor swim shorts…" began Donna.
"I assure you, Wilf, if we ever get engaged you'll be the first to know," the Doctor pointedly told him. Wilf did note that there was not a denial of it ever happening though, compounded by the fact that Donna and the Doctor chose that moment to look at each other. A look that spoke fathoms, and made an old man very happy.
Wilf decided not to continue playing gooseberry, so he asked them, "Which way to the food then?"
Donna tore herself away from the Doctor long enough to tell him, "By the back door, Gramps. The Doctor recommends the samosas, if there's any left after he's been at them!"
"Oi! I didn't eat all of them… just most of them!" he defended himself, and they both laughed together.
Yeah, it was definitely better to leave them to it, Wilf decided, and headed towards the food with a "Right-o!" He glanced back to see the pair of them deep in conversation with each other, and idly wondered what Sylvia will make of this turn of events now. The fireworks might be better than Bonfire Night!
"Do you think we can escape back to the TARDIS before Sylvia sees us again?" the Doctor asked, hoping that Donna would agree to this plan but knowing she probably wouldn't.
"As if we'd ever get away with that one!" Donna scoffed. "You forget that she's sitting between us and home."
"I hadn't quite, but I was hoping you had." He contemplated her, "We could go out the front door and sneak round the back?"
Dona laughed, "I know you pretend to avoid confrontation but we'd still have to face her eventually."
"There is that! Maybe we should get this over and done with?" and with that he grabbed her hand more firmly and pulled her towards the garden.
"Hang on, Sunshine! There's being brave and there's being positively suicidal!" Donna tried to slow him down.
"And there's using the advantage of a family audience," the Doctor argued, placing a peck on her cheek. There was going to be nothing that would stop him now from confronting Sylvia and getting this out into the open.
Sylvia was sitting in a garden chair sipping orange juice and balancing a plate of salad on her lap. She was talking nineteen-to-the-dozen with Janice and her in-laws, enjoying herself enormously, when she spotted the Doctor with Donna charging his way through towards her. That determined look on his face didn't fool her! She just pursed her lips at the pair of them.
"Hello again, Sylvia," the Doctor began; making sure his audience was paying attention. "I thought you ought to know that your daughter and I are… what's that term you people use?... ah yes… going out together!" he finished with a verbal flourish, as if he expected applause or something. He then changed his gaze to steely as he looked directly at Sylvia.
Sylvia huffed. He'd done this deliberately, telling her in front of family so that she had to appear pleased of all things. She summed up her cheesiest smile, "Oh! How lovely, Doctor! Welcome to the family."
The Doctor stepped towards her as if she might give him a hug, but thought better of it and shook her hand instead, much to her surprise. Wilf patted him on the shoulder, "Welcome lad!" and then turned to hug Donna again.
As soon as she sensed a happier turn in the atmosphere Janice jumped up out of her chair and proclaimed, "Time for some music to dance to, I think. Anyone got any suggestions?"
"Ooh! Yes!" her sister-in-law answered, and they went off to deal with the CD player.
Donna stood there as nonchalantly as possible, hanging onto the Doctor's hand whilst he chatted with Wilf about some constellation or other. She looked at her mother to judge her response to the Doctor's announcement. "You're still allowed to talk to me you know, Mum," she tried cheekily.
Sylvia's gaze flicked from the Doctor to Wilf and back to Donna, "I see I have no say in this. I'll have to like it or lump it!"
"Exactly!" Donna breathed a sigh of relief. "Come on, Mum, give us a chance."
Up beat music began to play from the lounge area, saving Sylvia from having to give an immediate reply. Several glasses of orange juice laced with brandy later, Sylvia was as talkative as ever and surprisingly mellow. Janice had made sure the brandy had been added for maximum effect. Still, Donna couldn't believe her ears when she heard Sylvia tell Janice's mother-in-law that she thought Donna was a wonderful daughter, and that she was going out with a charming man. A very sober Wilf watched with great amusement.
As the evening wore on, the Doctor finally got his chance to dance with Donna during a slow and sultry number. "How do you think this date has panned out, Doctor?" she asked him as he held her close with their arms wrapped around each other.
"If you had said we'd be doing this in front of your mother without her threatening me with that axe of hers I'd have laughed at you," he smiled. "What are you planning for an encore?"
She brought her lips up to whisper close to his ear, "I have a few bits of magic left, but I think we should at least offer to do the washing up for Janice first." And she giggled.
"You say the sexiest things!" he murmured before kissing her.
"Oi you two!" came the voice of Janice beside them. "Save something for later," and she winked at them.
"Janice, thanks for… erm… dealing with Mum. I couldn't have coped without you." Donna smiled warmly at her cousin.
"No sweat. I thought I'd have the same problem myself, remember? Can't have you missing out on the good things in life, can I?" Janice beamed at them fondly.
They bid everyone farewell soon after. It had been emotionally draining keep up the pleasantries with Sylvia, and Donna was now ready for bed. Ooh! Now there was a leading thought Donna realised as they snuck into the TARDIS.
"So, Spaceman, you finally managed to survive a domestic thing like a family party. Was it as bad as you expected?" she asked him as they entered the kitchen to make their ritual bedtime cup of tea.
He took the opportunity to grab hold of her again. This was beginning to be one of his favourite parts of this d-doing something together so far, and it promised to get even better in the near future. "Hmm, let me see. It wasn't too heavy on the domestic, and the family bit turned out to be quite nice. I like your cousin Janice, a lot."
"Good job she didn't see you in your towel then! Might have turned her off you for life," she teased.
"As if it ever had that affect on you," he waggled his eyebrows at her. "Shall I go and put it on again to prove my point?"
"Ooh! Promises, promises!" she giggled, and pulled him down to kiss him.
A/N: One more chapter to go in the D-doing something saga.