"It was her hair."
Martha and Donna jumped ever-so-slightly, and he smiled at the guilt on their faces. It wasn't a happy smile. An 'I told you so' smile, which was odd because the person he had told so was himself.
"Sorry," Martha said, quickly. Always so quick to apologise, Martha Jones. Although it wasn't her fault, really. She and Donna had every right to wonder why he had been acting so oddly. Why he had hated the idea of the generated anomaly one minute, then mourned his Jenny soon after. Why wouldn't they wonder?
"It was her hair?" Donna asked, face all scrunched. He liked Donna. No airs and graces, no false sympathies. She was curious and she wasn't going to let him stand in the way of her understanding. And that was why she was more than just a temp from Chiswick, really.
He answered her with a nod and left them to wonder again. He couldn't really speak of it, the reason (or rather reasons) why he couldn't handle the idea of a daughter. They were too alien in some way, and too old in others for Donna to understand. She had never outlived her children. She had never knowingly doomed her family to death. She wouldn't understand.
"What?" She continued, picking up some momentum. "It was too long for you? Would you rather doom your child to a stick-up do like yours?" She was being crass and harsh and delightfully Donna and he wondered if she knew that she was making him feel better by berating him. "Was she too blonde for you? Prefer a nice brunette as your kid?"
"She was blonde."
It was Martha that spoke and in the seconds that passed, several things happened. Martha looked at The Doctor before looking at the floor, Donna stared point blank at him and he looked anywhere but them.
"Is that it? She was blonde?" Her voice was soft and humble and The Doctor hated her just a little bit for it. He knew what was running through her head. A conversation from a long time ago, before the year that never was about a Time Lord's liking for blondes. Well, not so much all blondes as…
"Blonde?" Donna piped up, easing the tension. He loved that she pretended not to know how much better it made him feel. "You can't be serious! You didn't like your kid because she was blonde? That's obscene. You've done some pretty ridiculous things in your time, spaceman, but that takes the cake!"
"I'm right, aren't I?" Martha asked, ignoring Donna. "She was blonde and she was your kid and she reminded you of…"
There was a second or two of silence. Martha hadn't wanted to say the name and he couldn't blame her. So he did.
Donna was quiet.
"She looked like Rose?" she finally asked, all that bravado and faux-rudeness gone. It was replaced by an understanding and sympathy that unsettled him.
"Not exactly," he said, his mouth talking mostly without permission. "She had her hair and she had her cheek and she had – "
"Your two hearts," Donna finished.
"Right," he answered, not looking at her or Martha.
"So naturally…" Donna continued…
Nobody finished. Nobody needed to. Naturally, he wondered. Naturally, he wished. Naturally…
"I think it's time to go home," Martha said.
"Yeah," The Doctor answered with a crack in his voice.
He set the TARDIS into motion, trying to block out all thoughts of his daughter, his generated anomaly and his Rose.