Title- She Will Love You
Characters/Pairings- 10/Rose, 10/Donna (as it should be)
Summary- Six months post-JE. Rose is back on the TARDIS and she and the Doctor are blissfully in love... or are they? The Doctor can't help feeling that something's wrong, and he wishes he could ask his best friend for advice... but Donna left the TARDIS over a month ago.
A/N- I don't know what this is. Actually that's a lie. I know what it is. It's me being a total sap for Donna and the Doctor. They're the cutest pair in the history of anything, ever. And since I'm a recent convert from the Gilmore Girls fandom (and yes, I'm aware that I just lost ALL of my street cred right there), I was in deep need of some good old-fashioned romance therapy. No monsters, no end-of-the-universe drama. Just raw emotion and love and wonderfulness.
And yes, I'm also aware that my tenses are all over the place in this. Wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey, m'kay?
"You say you're in love,
But this heart still can't pretend.
Everything dressed in picturesque,
So perfectly aligned.
Will you come to me?
Kiss me quick, I'm losing,
Well, can we live forever?"
"We've been building this... travel machine. It's a, uh, a dimension canon, so I could- so I could come back."
That was six months ago. Six months since his brilliant Rose came bursting back into his life with her sweet smile and her soft laughter. With her guns and her leather jacket.
The first three months- as far as that's measured, TARDIS time- were absolute heaven. He had Rose back. The girl who had made him dream again, when he'd thought happiness was never going to be his lot, who had healed his wounds from a faraway, long-ago war, was back. The Daleks could've had the universe, for all he cared.
Of course, they didn't, thanks to Donna. She had triggered a metacrisis in his spare hand, creating a second Doctor, a human Time Lord who had sacrificed himself to buy Donna time to use the reversal gun to defeat Davros.
But the point was still the same. If it had meant he got to keep Rose, he'd have gladly handed reality over on a platter. And the first three months... well, they'd been worth it.
He and Rose took awhile to really get together; too long, if he was honest. It was stupid, really. He knew she loved him- or at least, he knew she had at one point- but human hearts were more fickle than those of Time Lords. He supposed it was just a reluctance to lose the good thing they had going, more than anything.
In the end, Donna had gotten tired of watching the two of them dancing around each other, and shouted at them both that if they were going to keep sneaking sideways glances at each other like that, the very least they could do was act on it once in awhile, for her sanity if nothing else. That was two months after Rose had joined them on the TARDIS, two months after defeating Davros for what had better be the last time. And in the time since, it had been perfect. He and Rose were in love, doing all the things people in love were supposed to do, and they were seeing the universe together just like they should.
So why did it feel wrong?
The two of them drove her nuts.
At first it was the little glances and the giggling and the behaving like two teenagers who were too scared to admit they liked each other.
And then, once she'd done her part and been good ol' Donna and made them see sense...
Well, then it got REALLY frustrating.
Then they were sappy and romantic and the Doctor was buying flowers, for God's sake!
Donna couldn't remember the Doctor ever buying her flowers...
Really, he had nothing to complain about. This was everything he had wanted since... oh, he supposed since sometime around Christmas, 1869, in a cellar in Cardiff. But there was something just not quite right about it.
"Does this ever feel... strange... to you?" the Doctor asked.
Rose looked up at him from behind a curtain of her hair. "What, us?" she questioned, clearly surprised.
"Not really," she said. "It's a little hard to believe that this- us- is really happening, sometimes. I mean, I've wanted this for so long, y'know..."
The Doctor nodded. He didn't think that was quiet what he was feeling. "Must just be a Spaceman thing," he said contemplatively.
"A what thing?" Rose asked.
"Oh. Spaceman. It's what Donna called me." He grinned at the memories. "Blimey, she used to yell when we'd get into things... Spaceman was the nicest thing she called me, believe me."
Rose nodded. "I kind of got that impression," she said with a smile. She pecked him on the lips and then she swept out of the library, off to who-knew-where somewhere in the depths of the TARDIS. The Doctor was left sitting in semi-darkness, alone with his thoughts.
Donna would know exactly what to say, he mused. Donna would be able to explain the weirdness he was feeling in this situation. She always had just the right words to make him feel better. Except... Donna wasn't there. She hadn't been there for a month. Around the time that he and Rose started sharing a bed on a regular basis, she had simply announced one day that she wanted to go home.
He hadn't bothered to ask why. He had been distracted by Rose, he was ashamed to admit. He had been too wrapped up in his returned love to ask what had prompted his best friend to leave his side.
He resolved that the next time they landed on Earth, he would visit her. Just pop in and say hi. He had learned the hard way with Sarah Jane that just leaving his friends behind without a word wasn't the best course of action.
For a month, Wilfred Mott had watched his granddaughter mope around the house. She had returned unexpectedly, carrying a ridiculous number of suitcases and with a lonely look in her eyes Wilf couldn't remember ever seeing there before. Since then, she had been just a shell of Donna. Her fire had gone out, and it scared him.
He thought he knew what was the matter, too. Donna had gone and got her heart broken.
Wilf had seen it, on the rare occasions that she and the Doctor had popped in from their travels. For all their loud, mutual insistence that they weren't a couple, Donna got a look in her eye when the Doctor was near that couldn't be denied. She had gone and fallen in love with her "right man," and of course, when that pretty teleporting blonde showed up during the Dalek invasion... well.
Donna had told Wilf about the beautiful Rose the Doctor had lost long ago. It wasn't surprising, Wilf supposed.
But he had thought the Doctor was better than that.
One night, when Donna was out- Nerys and the girls had talked her into a belated We Survived The End of the World party- there was a knock on the door. When Wilf answered, there was the Doctor, standing in the rain.
"What are you doing here?" Wilf asked. He hadn't even seen the Doctor since the day the Earth was stolen. He had seen the police box when Donna came home, but his only grandchild had emerged alone that day.
The Doctor shrugged. "Just... thought I'd stop by and say hello to Donna," he said.
"Well she ain't here, is she?" Wilf said.
"She's not?" The Time Lord looked genuinely taken aback.
Wilf shook his head. "She's gone out," he said.
The Doctor forced a rueful smile. "Right. 'Course. She's got better things to do than hang around here. I mean... she's Donna. She's got things to do. Big things. Brilliant things." He stepped back. "Sorry to have bothered you." He turned away and started to walk away into the rain.
Then, quite suddenly, he stopped and looked back, wet hair falling ridiculously into his eyes. "Wilfred..." he began, hesitantly. "Why did Donna want to come home? She never said."
Wilf shrugged. "I imagine it was because she's in love with you," he said. "And you've already got your girl, 'aven't you?"
He closed the door.
The Doctor stood there in the dark street, staring at the Noble house.
Chaos. That was exactly the right word for his feelings at the moment. A chaos of emotion the likes of which he couldn't recall experiencing since his third century or so. Wilf's words were ringing in his head: I imagine it was because she's in love with you.
Amidst all the conflict in his hearts, one thing the Doctor knew for sure was that he wanted Donna back on the TARDIS. He missed her. He missed her stumbling into the TARDIS' kitchen in her pyjamas with pillow marks on her face in the mornings. He missed her infectious enthusiasm for travel that surpassed even Rose's.
Ah. But that was it, wasn't it?
He had Rose. He loved Rose. And if Wilfred was right, Donna wouldn't come back just to watch the two of them together. Conversely, it would break Rose's heart for him to reject her now.
It seemed he had a lot to digest. And so the Doctor did what he always did when faced with a tough choice- he thought logically.
What was Rose, really? She was his first friend after the Time War. She was the person who softened the leftover rough edges and with her cleverness and glowing spirit filled up bits of the holes Gallifrey had left in his psyche and his hearts. She was far from the first human he had loved, and he wasn't the first human he had fallen in love with (he remembered so long ago, when Sarah Jane had filled his hearts up to the brim and he had abandoned her and run in terror, too scared to come back because he was young and stupid and afraid to be tied to one person with such a brief little life). She was the one he had given the most of himself to, though. She was the girl who had walked all through reality to get back to him. But she wasn't the first to do that, either (he remembered his third "first" meeting with Romanadvoratrelundar, this time as the Lady President, when she told him how she struggled to return to N-Space in the hope of finding him again).
And Donna? What, exactly, was she?
She was his best friend.
He thought back on the year (was it just a year? It seemed like so much longer) that he and Donna had traveled together. He remembered her imploring him, in Gallifrey's name, to save someone in Pompeii. He remembered the feel of her hands across his as they pushed that lever together and doomed 20,000 of her people to die: both of them, together. He remembered her tears on the Ood-sphere, crying for people that she barely knew. He remembered that smile of hers, like she knew something he didn't, and he grinned as he remembered her habit of affecting silly voices and accents just to get a laugh out of him. He remembered how, no matter what the situation, Donna always seemed to know just exactly the right thing to say to make him feel better. He remembered the feel of her hand in his, so many times. He remembered Midnight, and the terror of the shuttle; he remembered being so glad that Donna had chosen not to come with him, because at least she was safe. He remembered after, and how she seemed to be able to tell, just from looking at him; he remembered how safe he felt, being in her arms as she held him until he stopped shaking. He remembered the panic he felt as he watched- or so he thought- the TARDIS burn with her inside.
He remembered wondering how he could possibly go on without his brilliant Donna Noble.
The Doctor wondered if maybe he was just a little bit in love with Donna, too. He thought he probably was. After all, he knew better than most that it was possible to love many people at once; why should that not extend to the phenomenon of being in love, as well?
"I miss Donna."
"You love her, don't you?"
"I suppose I should have known. I saw the way you looked when you realized she was alive after all. I've never seen you that happy, in all the time I've known you."
"I do love you."
"I know that, too. But... you love her more, don't you?"
"Rose... Do you want to stay?"
"I... I don't think I can. I mean, I've got that phone number now, but... well, before we dropped him off in Cardiff, Jack offered me a job. I might take him up on that. Work with Martha and Mickey, maybe."
It was raining yet again. Not a surprise. The atmospheric disturbances created by Earth's million-light-year journey-by-TARDIS were still affecting most of the planet.
What was a surprise was the sound of the TARDIS outside the little house in Chiswick. Donna couldn't resist. She ran outside into the rain.
"Doctor," she said when the man stepped out of his mad blue box. That was all. Just "Doctor."
He gave her a sheepish grin. "I made a mistake," he said.
"And what's that?"
"I made the mistake of picking an old friend over a best friend."
She was smiling now, and it was brilliant. For the first time in a very long time, the Doctor felt... Home.
He plunged ahead. He needed to say this. If nothing else, he had learned that much from the disaster with Rose: never put off telling someone how you feel. "Donna, I know when you came aboard the TARDIS, I said I just wanted a mate. A friend. I was hurt and lonely and I didn't want to have to go back to the place I was in when we met that very first time, and I thought if I was never... involved... with a traveling companion again... well, I thought that would be alright."
Donna crossed her arms, looking at him with an inscrutable expression.
"I hadn't really banked on you, though," he said. "You're... well, you're Donna. There's no other way to say it, I guess. I promised both of us I wouldn't, but I've gone and fallen in love with you, Donna Noble."
She uncrossed her arms and, ever so slowly, walked across the space between them until she was standing directly in front of him.
"What about Rose?"
"She's working for Torchwood, now. She didn't like the idea of staying if you... well, if you decided you maybe wanted to come back."
For the longest moment, Donna just stared at him. Then she stood up on her toes, took his face in her hands, and kissed him.
From that time on, the two of them have been traveling the stars, as they should be. And locked deep inside Donna Noble's genetic code, a massive change has been taking place, tiny bits at a time. You see, the other half of the metacrisis that created the short-lived human Doctor rewrote Donna's DNA. But it lay dormant inside her for many years, slowly but surely converting the rest of her base pairs until one day, after seventy years of traveling and love, the pair realized that Donna hadn't aged a day past forty.