Title- Stand By Me
Characters/Pairings- 10-11 and Donna friendship
Summary- I will not accept that EoT had to end the way it did. Ten's regeneration, I accept. Ten regenerating alone, afraid, and filled with regret? That, I refuse to accept. Therefore... this. Oneshot, may be a prequel to a longer story if demand is high enough.
"Time came a-creeping, oh Time's a loaded gun,
Every road is a ray of light.
It goes on, Time can only lead you on,
Still, it's such a beautiful night..."
Donna casts her eyes around for her grandfather, wanting to drag him into a photo. She catches the tail end of his salute, and curious, looks past him to the man he's honoring, a tall skinny man in a long brown coat. His eyes meet hers for just a second, and he looks so, so sad. And beyond him, under the gate...
Donna doesn't think. She's not sure what is compelling her so strongly, or what's triggered such a reaction. She doesn't even look at her brand new husband. She just follows, a dead-out spring in her wedding gown after the man as he disappears into the out-of-place police box.
Shaun and her mother cry out, but she doesn't care. Something- she doesn't know what, but something- is more important than husbands or family. She launches herself into the air and sails through the closing door of the police box.
When she lands, eyes tight shut, she feels iron grating pressing against her cheek and hears an all-too-familiar sound. Where has she heard that sound...?
She looks up.
There he is, the man whose appearance prompted her headlong flight into this mad police box which is...
Bigger on the inside.
Her head hurts.
He kneels in front of her, taking her hands to pull her from her prone position until she's sitting on her knees. "Donna?" he questions. "What are you doing?"
"John Smith," she stutters, dredging up a name from somewhere. But that's wrong. "No... Doctor?" She puts a hand to her temple. "Oh, my head hurts," she mumbles.
His face darkens and he all but jumps to his feet, backing away from her. "Oh Donna," he says sadly. "Why now? Why today?"
It's all coming back now, in stuttering bits and flashes, and she rises to her feet slowly as her head begins to heat up from the inside. She studies the Doctor- oh, her wonderful Doctor!- and with brand new eyes that are so much more than what they should be, she can really see. Little sparks beneath the skin.
"You're regenerating, aren't you?" she asks.
He nods, looking at the console rather than her.
"I'm staying," she says.
Now he looks at her. "You can't, Donna," he says. "You'll die, and you know that."
She's not so sure, so she just shrugs, trying not to show on her face how much her head is throbbing. "Even if I were to let you take my mind away again- which I won't- you couldn't at the moment, Spaceman," she tells him frankly. "With the regeneration so close..."
He grimaces. "You just got married, Donna. I should take you back to your husband. That's where you belong."
Donna shakes her head. "I've got pockets in my gown," she tells him frankly. "When I was at the dress shop, that was the one thing I knew I had to have. I didn't care about anything else. Just pockets. Now tell me where I belong."
A hint of a smile tries to pull his expression up, but not enough to make her believe he's alright.
She crosses the distance between them on careful feet, trying not to weave as her vision swims a little, and lays a hand on his shoulder. "You came to my wedding," she says. "I assume you're trying to... say goodbye?"
"Just Rose left," he murmurs.
"Go on, then," she tells him. "We haven't got long, either of us."
She watches from behind the TARDIS doors as he walks into the snow, speaking one last time to the girl he loves. And Rose disappears up the stairs, and the Doctor's strength is failing fast. Donna is in little better condition, but she rushes out to help him to his feet.
And now she's dizzy as her brain begins to shut down, barely able to support herself, let alone the Doctor, but she pulls his arm over her shoulder and desperately tries to hold them both up, and for some reason she sees Ood Sigma, and through a fuzzy film over her ears, she hears his muffled voice whisper, "We will sing to you Doctor, Donna, friends. The universe will sing you to your sleep." And the Ood-song, beautiful and terrible, brings tears to her eyes as it resonates through her head.
But maybe she's imagining things.
Together, they make it to the TARDIS, and the Doctor has just enough strength to hang his coat over the branch of the coral supports one last time and she falls to her knees, clutching her head, feeling the fire in her head accelerate. She sees him reach up onto the console and twist a few knobs, she can feel the TARDIS take off, and then he's down on his knees a few feet from her, staring as his hands begin to shine in a way she saw once before.
"Is this it?" she whispers hoarsely. "Is this the end of us?"
"I don't know," he replies, and she can see tears in his eyes. "I don't want to go," he chokes.
The sight of her Doctor, her best friend, in so much terror, just about breaks her heart, and it gives her the strength to pull herself across the grated floor to where he's kneeling. She wraps her arms around him tightly, clinging to him and comforting him as his body grows warm.
"Get back," he warns her in a weak voice. "It's not safe..."
"Shut up, Spaceman," she says, equally shaky. "I'm dying anyway. Least I can do is make sure you don't go alone. Nov isiliam."
The Doctor stares at her, eyes wide. "But that's... that's old high Gallifreyan..." he mumbles.
She smiles at him through blurry eyes. "If it's in your head, it's in mine."
He accepts her comfort then, and leans into her embrace.
And the world fills with heat and light as the explosive power of the Doctor's regeneration sweeps through them both...
The Doctor opens new eyes and looks around himself, and his new hearts ache for a moment as he braces himself to see what's become of Donna. He's seen before what happens when a non-Gallifreyan is exposed to regeneration energy at such close range, and it's not pretty...
But the woman lying unconscious on the floor of the TARDIS certainly is. For a moment he's baffled.
And then he understands.
The metacrisis worked both ways.
The woman's hair is still red, and he's glad. He can't picture Donna Noble as anything but a ginger.
And then her eyes open, shining unnaturally green in the odd light that's filling the TARDIS. She puts a hand to her head, glances around her, then looks up at him. "Doctor?" she guesses.
He nods, and helps her to her feet.
"I must admit, I didn't expect this," she says. "Figured I was a dead girl."
"Clearly not," he comments.
"The metacrisis," she guesses. "It altered my DNA, right? And the regeneration energy would have activated the dormant Time Lord DNA..." A horrified look crosses her face. "Bloody hell! I've got two hearts!" And a moment later, another thought hits her. "How do I look?"
"Still ginger," he assures her. "How about me?"
She bites her lip, apparently trying not to grin too widely. "Different..." she says, and then her mind jumps tracks. "Doctor, is it just me, or is the TARDIS on fire?"
A quick survey proves her correct, and a manic grin lights up his face. "We're crashing!" he exclaims. "GERONIMO!"
He feels a swell of pride when her voice joins his in the cry.
What do you think? Are the adventures of 11 and Donna II worth a lengthy tale? Let me know yea or nay in a review!