Summary: Set a short time after JE, the Doctor is visiting Wilf in hospital when he accidentally meets Donna. This was written as a companion piece to Visiting Wilf and Hospital Visit, so it helps to read those first.
A/N: This was written for the mission missdoctordonna set me.
The Doctor had got as far as the TARDIS console when he had a sudden thought. What if he did sneak back and sit with Wilf until he woke? There was no harm in that, surely? And there was the added bonus of seeing more of Donna. As he reached for the ward door it thrust open and knocked him flat onto the floor.
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry!" Donna cried as she knelt down to his prone form. She ran her hand down his arm and leg, checking for injuries, "Are you alright? Did I hurt you? Can you stand? Should I fetch one of the nurses?"
"I'm fine," he replied slightly groggily. He touched his hand to the back of his head and winced.
"Oh no you're not!" she insisted.
He couldn't resist staring back into her horror struck eyes as the need to reassure her overwhelmed him. "Honestly, I'm fine. It's just a little bump; nothing to worry about," he tried to smile brightly at her.
"I don't believe you for one second, Sunshine!" she huffed before letting her expression soften. "Don't I know you? You're one of Gramps' nutty friends aren't you?"
"Well…," he chuckled, "that's one way to describe me. I was on my way to visit him funnily enough."
"He's out for the count for at least an hour," Donna supplied. "I'll tell you what, why don't you let me treat you to a coffee or something, and perhaps even a slice of cake. You look as though you could do with something to eat." Her words were harsh, but her tone was as endearing as he had ever heard.
The Doctor found himself agreeing before he realised it. "That would be nice, thank you." He blushed as he also realised that he was still staring back at her; and was pleasantly surprised when she blushed in reply. Anyone would think they were goofy teenagers with the way they were reacting! He tried not to make a play of actually getting up off the floor and Donna tried not to help him as much as possible; but the hardest part was not taking hold of her hand as they walked down the corridor. He managed it; just.
"So… John wasn't it?" Donna asked as they walked, waiting for the Doctor to acknowledge the name. "What do you do when you're not crashing to the floor in hospital corridors?"
They shared a smile. "Well… Donna wasn't it? I do a bit of this and that. I travel for a living, in a sort of diplomatic way; but I'm freelance," he told her.
"I'd love to travel more," she hastily replied, and the Doctor had to bite his lip to stop himself telling her how much she did.
The woman in the hospital volunteers' canteen cheerily poured them each out a decent cup of tea, but apologised for the lack of cake. Instead they chose a chocolate biscuit to go with their tea. Having fussed about getting sugar, spoons and finally a seat, they settled down in amiable silence. Inevitably Donna broke first, to ask, "Do you write about your travels?"
"No. I should do really," he replied whilst doing that weird shaking thing you do with packets of sugar before stirring the contents into your tea. He nervously scratched the back of his neck, "I keep notes sometimes but I never seem to get round to writing down anything properly."
"What you need is a good typist," Donna told him. "They'd have all that done in no time."
"I hear you're good at that," he told her. "It's a pity I can't use your services."
"Why can't you?" she asked, giving him a slight frown. "After knocking you to the floor I think I owe you that sort of favour. Just name the day and I'll come round to help you."
It was on the tip of his tongue to turn her down instantly, but he could feel her need to make it up to him so intensely; and if he were honest with himself this moment was going too well to crush her now. "I think we can arrange something in the near future," he beamed at her.
She was captivated with the way his eyes lit up when he smiled broadly at her, the intensity of his gaze, the way his hand had crept over to cover hers… that last one should have annoyed the hell out of her, but it didn't for some strange reason. In fact she rather liked it! "I bet you say that to all the girls!" she tried to scoff, but her blush gave her away again.
"I've only ever said it to you," he told her sincerely. "When have you got a free moment?"
"Apart from now?" she giggled. What was the matter with her? She was turning into a complete flirt! "All my evenings are free at the moment."
"No boyfriend?" he asked in surprise. She shook her head at him. "But I thought you would have someone steady by now."
"If I have he's very good at hiding himself," she laughed. "Nobody wants me."
'I want you!' was on the tip of his tongue, but he held it there. "Then I'll have to help you with that," he promised.
"Got a long list of blokes lined up have you?" she mocked him. "Or are you offering?"
"Ah! That would be telling!" he gave her a small wink, and was delighted to see her blush again. He hastily distracted himself by sipping his tea before he did anything more dangerous. Like kiss her his traitorous thoughts suggested. He coughed. "Are you in any hurry to… erm… get back anywhere?"
She smiled coyly back at him. "Nowhere in particular," she answered, and then waited patiently for the expected invite.
"In that case… erm… would you… that is, if you fancy it… perhaps we could… go to the erm…," he stammered; and flushed yet again.
She subtly turned her hand underneath his and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Yeah. Why not?" she softly reassured him. They shared another shy smile and gulped their tea down.
He was walking along holding Donna Noble's hand, and she hadn't spontaneously combusted. He was holding Donna Noble's hand! He felt his soul soar. He ecstatically smiled at her.
"Why are you so happy? Lost a penny and found a pound?" she teased her, smiling back up at him.
"Something like that!" he grinned. "I'm just loving the fact I'm with you."
"What's so great about me? I'm run of the mill; nothing special," she modestly replied.
He stopped and pulled her to him. "No you're not. You've always been special," he insisted.
"Always? Where did you get that from?" she scowled at him.
He leant closer. "From your grandfather. From me," he almost whispered. "From the moment I first saw you I knew you were special."
"But… I was whinging when I first saw you. Or is 'special' another word for 'moany old cow'?" she asked in confusion.
"No!" he chortled. "I mean 'special' as in amazing, ginger and beautiful."
"You think I'm beautiful?" she gasped. She felt compelled to touch him now; to feel his solid form beneath her hands to confirm that this being existed.
He wrapped his arms around her. "I wouldn't say it unless I meant it," he told her as sincerely as he could.
'This is it!' she thought as she lifted her lips for the inevitable kiss, meeting him halfway.
It was an invitation he couldn't refuse: the opportunity to finally kiss Donna Noble! Her lips were as soft as he remembered; not that it had been an occasion worth remembering apart from the fact he'd almost died. He snapped back to the present because the sensation of her mouth under his was causing desire to pulse through him rapidly. It was wonderful.
Flipping heck he was a good kisser! Donna moved even nearer to him to enjoy the press of his body and the smell of his aftershave. It was unusual but completely familiar; and deeply erotic. She opened more to his tongue's tender caresses and was relieved he took the invitation to deepen their kissing. This was going on in leaps and bounds; at this rate they'd soon be… she felt herself flush at the delicious thought.
A fresh wave of scents wafted up from her to tantalise his senses. The effect on him was heady and stirring.
There was a little cough, followed by a particular voice, "Sorry to interrupt, but I thought you two would be interested to know Wilf has woken up." Donna and the Doctor broke apart to see Nurse Claire Evans grinning at them with delight. "I see you've resolved your differences at long last," Nurse Claire sighed happily. "It'll gladden Wilf's heart to see that you're back together again. I saw the pair of you through the window and thought I'd come down and tell you the news! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a few things to do before I'm off home so I'll leave you to it." She smiled at them again, and almost skipped off back to the ward.
"What is she on?" Donna asked the Doctor. "She's been coming out with weird stuff since I got here."
"Sounds like a case of mistaken identity to me," he offered; but he didn't release her from his arms.
"But she was spookily accurate about some things," she insisted. "It was as if she really knew me!"
He nuzzled her nose. "You have one of those faces. I feel as if I've known you for years."
She playfully swatted at his arm. "You are so full of blarney you'll turn green! I have no idea why I let you kiss me," she grumbled.
"Excuse me! But you kissed me!" he laughed. "I'm open for negotiations though…" He teased her by chastely kissing her until she grabbed his head and forced him to respond properly.
"Why do I feel like I know you as well as I know myself?" she suddenly asked, breaking from him. "I do! I know you... so well! And why do I get this image of… I'm in my wedding dress. I was in my wedding dress, and you were there. Why? What does it mean? Was she right? Are you my…" She began to back away from him as shocked realisation overcame her. "Are you my husband?" she asked in a frightened whisper.
"Donna, let me explain…," he stammered out, trying to gain a grip on her arms, but she kept pulling away.
She held up her hands in a 'back off' posture as several emotions and memories played across her mind. "I lost my memory, and you just left me? You left me with my mother? How could you? HOW COULD YOU?" she blazed at him in her rage.
"Donna, don't upset yourself like this, you could…," he tried again.
"DON'T!" she warned him with a pointing index finger. "I'm going to see Gramps now, so don't follow me, John. I think he'll be as disappointed in you as I am. I wished I'd never married you!" She angrily stomped away from him in the direction of the ward.
What just happened? The Doctor went through the scene again. John? She thought she was married to him? Then that meant she hadn't remembered; that meant he still had time! He raced after her, intent on stopping her before she reached Wilf.
"Are you still following me?" she angrily yelled over her shoulder at him. "I'm warning you, John! Keep away from me!"
"Donna! You've got it wrong; please believe me!" he called after her, but he'd forgotten how fast she could run now. He eventually caught her up by the ward doors, and grabbed her arms to halt her progress.
"What?" she demanded. "What exactly have I got wrong? The marriage, the being dumped, you lying to me… what?"
"I think you need to know that we have only kissed once before and that…," he faltered as she glared at him and he ran out of words for his sentence. Why did she have this effect on him?
"You are so not helping your case right now! I don't remember much about 'us' but I do remember a wedding ceremony," she stormed at him.
"Where was that ceremony, Donna?" he gently asked. His eyes pleaded with her.
"What do you mean where was it? It was in a… it was on a rooftop, wasn't it?" she looked at him in confusion. "Why was it on a rooftop?"
He pulled her slowly towards him, "Exactly! Why would it be on a rooftop? Are you sure it was even you, or someone else?"
"Don't talk wet! Of course it was me! We were sitting on the edge of a parapet and you placed the ring on my finger…" She held up her left hand to view it. "Where is it? Where's my wedding ring? What have you done with it?" she almost shrieked at him.
She still hadn't slapped him so things weren't too bad, yet. "Take deep breaths for me, Donna; you're upsetting yourself unnecessarily. We'll go and have another cup of tea shall we?" he patiently dealt with her.
"Why are you talking to me like that? Like I'm doppy. You sound like a doctor, like…," her eyes went wide as something triggered in her, "...the Doctor! Oh my God! You're the Doctor!"
"Donna!" he cried out as she collapsed in his arms. "No! Not now; please not now!" He kissed her forehead as tears threatened to overwhelm him, "Don't leave me again, please don't."
He hoisted Donna into his arms; stumbling, he kicked at the door to the ward and a familiar face opened it. "Doctor? What's happened to Donna?" Nurse Claire asked him with deep concern. "Quick! Bring her in here…" She led into one of the private rooms just inside the ward, and frantically rearranged the pillows on the bed so that he could lay Donna down. "Good job she collapsed in the right place," she tried to console him, seeing his obvious agitation.
He tenderly placed a hand on Donna's brow. "She's burning up," he said forlornly. "I suppose this is it." His words sounded so final.
"Come on, Doctor; a little fever won't do her any lasting harm. Shall I bring her some antibiotics?" Nurse Claire asked. She moved around the bed to stand next to him, hoping her presence would give him some moral support.
"No! There's no point, not now," he answered, not lifting his eyes away from Donna's face, and smoothing his fingertips across her cheek as if doing so would help him remember her more. "I need to stop the pain." He turned then to regard Nurse Claire, his whole demeanour was destitute. "She'll be in an awful lot of pain soon. Do you have anything?" Giving a little sad sigh, he continued, "I'd better go and tell Wilf once it's over."
Almost immediately Donna convulsed and let out a yelp of pain. Nurse Claire ran out of the room and headed for the medicine trolley.
He placed his hands on the sides of her face, touching her contact points as before, and delved into her chaotic mind. Her neural network was flashing and pulsing alarmingly, but he knew he couldn't stop it; it was too much even for him. Instead he sought out some of her pain receptors and tried to close them down; he might as well give her a peaceful death he reasoned.
When she stilled he let go of her. She looked so quiet below him, so inanimate; so unlike his Donna. He placed a brief, final kiss on her lips, then slid to the floor and sobbed into his hands.
That was how Nurse Claire found him, a closed off ball of misery; so she left him with his grief. When she touched Donna's body to check her condition she noticed Donna was trembling as well as there being a faint pulse. 'Might as well make it easy for her' she thought, and plunged the syringe she was carrying into Donna's arm. As expected, Donna stilled completely. Nurse Claire decided she'd better call for a ward doctor to sign the death certificate, so she gave the Doctor's shoulder a brief compassionate touch as she walked passed him and went out to the nurses' station.
The Doctor didn't even look up. He was in his own little Hell, full of recriminations and grief. Then the bed began to throb ever so slightly. Glancing up out of curiosity, he saw Donna's body jittering. "What?" he exclaimed and scrambled up to examine her.
As he got to his feet and leant over her there was a sudden gasp and Donna's eyes burst open. They glowed; first golden, then white, and finally changing to a calming blue that slowly dissipated. "Donna?" he asked in awe. "What are you trying to say?" he noticed her lips moving slightly.
He placed his ear against her mouth, and noticed subtle differences in her aroma. What? Surely not? Her breath on his cheek distracted him from further thoughts. "Water!" she wheezed out.
Startled, he jumped back from the bed and snatched up the bedside water jug and glass to pour her some out. Gently, he raised her up so that she could sip the water. Settling her back down on the pillow, he asked, "Can I check what's happened, Donna?"
She mouthed the word 'yes' so he returned his fingers to her contact points. This time there was nothing misfiring, her neural network was stable…beautiful… as he watched it finish expanding to contain her Time Lord mind. He watched her grow stronger with every passing second.
"Dr Connor will along in a moment to check and sign the…," Nurse Claire spoke as she entered the room and stopped in her tracks when she saw the Doctor tenderly holding Donna's head. "She's alive!" she said in awe. "But how? I saw her die peacefully."
"But you weren't here at her exact moment of passing," he uttered in puzzlement.
"I was," she insisted. "I gave her a dose of a painkiller."
"What painkiller?" he quizzed her sternly, bouncing towards her in his excitement.
"I… erm… it was only some…" She point to a small vial on the windowsill.
He rushed to pick it up and drew out his brainy specs to examine the label closely. "You gave her diamorphine? And it did that? Nurse Claire, I could kiss you!" he beamed at her.
"Can I add my thanks to that?" was whispered from the direction of the bed.
A megawatt smile broke across his face. "Donna!" he cried, and strode across to the bed to grasp her hand. "Am I pleased to see you?"
"Hello, Spaceman," she croaked, giving him a faded smile. "It's good to see you too."
"I don't understand what just happened," Nurse Claire stood in absolute confusion. "One minute Donna is at death's door, I give her an injection, and the next moment she has risen from the grave. Is this related to that Bryclog somehow?" She smiled as she noticed the Doctor clinging onto Donna's hand very tightly; perhaps they could be permanently together after all.
"Something in Donna changed recently, since the Bryclog," the Doctor explained. "In a way she was fatally allergic to me, but the diamorphine reacted with her new brain chemistry and she… well, she stabilised, basically; like removing the fizz out of lemonade!" He grinned broadly at her.
"Oh, I see," Nurse Claire answered, not really seeing at all, but she made a mental note to look it up in her medical books later when she got home. "I can see you might need rest in here for a while together. I've warned Sister that you're in here; I'm off home, so," she stepped forward, "I'll wish you all the best and I hope to see you both again one day. Perhaps on the Maternity Ward?" She giggled at the Doctor's appalled expression, and waved them both goodbye.
"Bye! And thank you!" he called after her. The Doctor turned his attention back to Donna. "It looks like we have a lot to discuss; and I'd like to run some tests on you, if that's okay. Are you able to accompany me to the TARDIS yet? Or do you want to stay here and lie around."
Amusement flickered across her face. "Take me home to the TARDIS, Doctor, please," she told him hoarsely. "I've missed her."
He swept her into his arms. "You have no idea how much I wanted to hear those words!" he replied. He pressed light kisses to her face before working his way to her mouth; once there, he tasted her gratefully, revelling in the fact she was still there in his arms. He wanted to do more, and push the boundaries of their newly formed link, but he didn't want to risk that yet. He reluctantly broke away to apologise, "And I'm sorry about all that husband stuff earlier. It would seem that the joke still wants to follow us about to taunt us."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him as tightly as she could manage in her weakened state. "There is one way to stop the joke you know," she softly reasoned. "You could always make an honest woman of me."
"Donna Noble! Are you asking me to marry you?" he gleefully asked.
"If you're lucky," she murmured.
"Today is my lucky day," he answered. "Can I kiss the bride?"
She pulled his lips onto hers. "Only if I can kiss the groom."