Warning: Contains a swear word or two; all quite mild.
Summary: Set at the end of an alternative version of JE, the Doctor has gone off with Rose and dumped Donna with his Duplicate on Earth.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the ideas in my head.
Back to Base
"Well," the duplicate Doctor exclaimed.
"Well," Donna replied; because truly, how else could you reply?
They'd been asked to leave the TARDIS while the Doctor swanned off to goodness knew where with Rose. The course of events had been that Jackie had been returned to Bad Wolf Bay, the Doctor had fired up the TARDIS to head for Chiswick, and then it was good night Vienna!
Both of them idly picked at the blades of grass they sat on, too embarrassed to look at each other for long. One of them would have to break the silence first. Any moment now. Once they'd examined their finger nails, shifted about a bit, and got soaking wet in the rain that was teeming down.
"Aren't you two coming in?" demanded a voice from the front porch of Sylvia's home.
"Gramps!" Donna cried out with joy; hoisting herself up and racing into his waiting arms. "Oh Gramps," she whimpered into his shoulder.
"What's the matter, my girl? You did it, I see," Wilf said with glee. He pulled back slightly to lift her face and look her in the eye. "Why the tears? What's happened? Anything your old Gramps can help with?"
"He left me!" she wailed. "As soon as he saw her he didn't want me anymore. He dumped us here on the doorstep."
Wilf threw his stunned gaze onto the duplicate Doctor. "Doctor? Why don't you want my Donna anymore?"
"Oh no! That wasn't me!" the duplicate Doctor tried to defend himself.
"It wasn't him, Gramps. This isn't The Doctor, this is his duplicate," Donna explained. "I sort of created him by accident; and now he's been chucked out like I have."
The duplicate Doctor stood dripping forlornly. "Can we go inside and explain this fully?" he asked wetly.
"Certainly!" Wilf immediately decided and ushered them in to the warmth and dryness of the house.
An hour later everything had been described and explained whilst they sat drinking tea in the lounge and Sylvia had rustled up a supper of cheese on toast. "But why did he throw you out? I don't understand," Sylvia attempted to reason out the situation. "You make it sound like there is plenty of room on the TARDIS for you all."
"Would you want to continually play gooseberry?" Donna asked. "No, me and Andy here just got in the way; and I don't know about you, but I don't want to witness a load of romantic slush."
"Definitely not," agreed the duplicate Doctor.
"In that case, I'd better make up the spare bed," Sylvia stated. "Shame. That girl seemed nice as well."
Both Donna and the duplicate Doctor shared a grief stricken look. It had been a long day, taking loads out of them physically and emotionally. They sagged towards each other in mutual consolation.
"I'll go get you some pyjamas, Doctor," Wilf told him, noting their sudden exhaustion. "We'll sort everything else out in the morning."
Left on their own in the lounge, the duplicate Doctor asked, "Is that my name now?"
"What is?" Donna asked in return blearily.
"Andy. You called me 'Andy'," he told her.
She gave a shrug. "Seems as good a name as any other. What did you want to be called then?"
He gave a shrug back. "No idea. Andy will do for now."
"Come on then, Andy No-name," Donna teased him as she stood up. "Let's get some sleep, and then we'll worry about everything else in the morning."
He gave a wide yawn, and looked shocked. "That was new!" he remarked.
"Get used to it, Earthboy," Donna replied, and yanked on his hand to lead him up to bed.
"Donna!" Wilf spoke in a stage whisper as she later crossed the landing to her bedroom. "Have I got this right? You and him have to live together for the rest of your life or you go kaboom?"
"That's right, Gramps. We're stuck with each other until kingdom come," she replied.
"A bit like a marriage if you ask me," he drily commented.
That hurt, but Donna hid the pain of hearing the familiar remark. "Yeah, poor bloke is stuck with me for a while when he..."
"When what?" Wilf gently pressed for the answer.
"Let's just say that the Doctor wasn't the only one in love with a certain blonde," she whispered, worried that Andy could hear her.
"Oh!" Wilf uttered in understanding. "How you gonna fix that?"
"I have no idea," admitted Donna. "How do you mend a broken heart?" And they shared a knowing grimace.
The first thing Donna did was to sign them up with a temping agency, contacted a few letting agents to find out about a possible flat to rent, and then sorted through her drawers to find a credit card to flash about getting Andy some new clothes. He was surprised to learn he quite liked clothes shopping. One up to Donna!
"What surname do you want?" she asked him as her hands hovered over the computer keyboard. "The temp agency can't place someone just called Andy; it's too vague."
The only ones that sprung to mind immediately made him think of the TARDIS and the life he was being denied. With a sorrowful sigh, he answered, "Just call me anything you like. I'm not bothered."
Donna knew that look; and she also knew he needed a distraction. "How about Newman? Then you'd be A. Newman!" She was relieved to see him snicker. "Seriously though; what sounds good with Andrew?"
"Hmm. Andrew Depp. Andrew Noble. Andrew Lord. Andrew Jackman. Andrew Lloyd Webber; I don't know!" he huffed impatiently at her. "It depends what relationship we're going for."
"How the heck does that make a difference?" she demanded. "We're not passing each other off as husband and wife, so you can pick whatever you flipping like!"
He scowled back at her. "Yes, I am aware we are friends, but if we are going to continue to live together, shouldn't we have the same surname?" he considered carefully.
Donna scoffed at him. "What century do you think we live in, Sunshine? People live 'in sin' all the time now. And these days people are just as likely to assume you are gay if you share with a woman."
"They do what?" He looked terribly affronted. "I assure you I am NOT gay!"
She gave his knee a consoling pat. "I know you aren't, sweetheart. But you never know." She almost managed to hold in a giggle, but his pout pushed her over the edge. "Okay, seeing as you're worried about it, I shall put you down as Andrew Noble. You can always change it later by deed poll," she said with a smile.
"Dr Andrew Noble," he amended her with an answering smile; and they gleefully typed away.
It was a rough first month of adjustment. So much of it was new for Andy; especially the whole living under Sylvia's roof business. The not choosing when you eat, go out to work, where you slept; all of it taxed his patience. Living with Donna was already well established in his mind, and he missed the capacity to be just 'them'. They'd signed a contract and would soon be in their own flat, doing their own stuff whenever they wanted to. He couldn't wait!
Not that Sylvia had been anything but welcoming with him. It helped that he came with a readymade sob story. Talking of which, he missed the hugs and cuddles from Donna. Boy did he miss them! She'd shied away from him so much since they'd landed on this planet, and he wanted nothing more than for her to comfort him like she used to. But that was the problem, wasn't it? It hadn't been him she had offered all that comfort to. It had been the original Doctor.
He often found his fists balling up at the thought of him, and the urge to punch the Doctor's lights out overwhelmed him. Yes, he understood that he needed to learn certain restraints, but he didn't deserve to be punished for them! Was Donna being punished because of his actions too? They'd avoided talking about it since that night, and he understood that, he really did. It hurt too much. He just wished he could have Donna back as the best friend he knew she was. Perhaps things would be better once it was back to being the two of them again. He hoped so; otherwise it was going to be a lonely lifetime.
Surprisingly, working in an office hadn't come as such a hardship. Once they'd hacked into official records and sorted him out a birth certificate, a National Insurance number, and National Health records, it had been easy to gain a 100 wpm reputation like Donna had. Her memories had proven to be very helpful. And he found that he later liked working in IT support; it earned him good money too. Donna had smiled proudly at him the first time he gained a wages slip, and for the first time since they had been dumped there he felt that things could get back on track with them.
His major opportunity came the second night they spent in their new home. They didn't have much in the way of furniture; just the bare basics. "That's half the adventure," Donna told him. "We get to choose exactly what we want in our life." He wasn't sure she chose to have that nightmare.
The screams woke him from his own fitful sleep; and he raced to wake her from her private hell. "What is it Donna," he softly crooned as he pulled her sleepy form into his comforting embrace. "Tell me."
"They had me! They were going to throw me out into the Xtonic sunlight!" She clung to him desperately as her tears soaked into his pyjama jacket.
He made shushing noises. He knew this memory all too well. Without thinking, he climbed into the bed and hugged her closely. "They can't do that now. Not while I've got you," he told her.
"Don't leave me!" she howled. "Please don't ever leave me!"
"I promise," he murmured into her hair, and gently rocked her until they both fell into a blissful sleep. In fact, it was the best sleep he had personally ever had. He was right back where he wanted to be.
"Hello," he had softly said when they opened their eyes the following morning. "I've missed this." He flicked his gaze down to their snuggled position to emphasise his words. He hadn't expected Donna to burst instantly into tears in reply. "I'm sorry; I didn't mean to upset you," he cooed at her.
"It's not that," she managed to say between sobs. "You've done nothing wrong; nothing at all. It's me! I'm such a bitch!"
She buried her face in the crook of his neck then, while he tenderly stroked her hair. "No, you're not," he assured her. "You're the best friend a man could have."
"Not good enough for an alien though," she sobbed.
He cradled her head and forced her to look him in the eye. "He is an idiot! Do you hear me? To turn away the most important woman in all creation beggars belief; but he did it and we have to somehow forgive him for it. I don't want you upsetting yourself because that oaf doesn't know his arse from his elbow."
Donna tried to chuckle. "How can you be so forgiving when he's nabbed the girl you wanted? You amaze me!" she admitted.
"She was never mine; let's be honest here. And she would never have chosen me over him; I know that. It's a like it or lump it situation. Plus," he paused for dramatic effect, "I have a little bit of Donna Noble in with the mix that makes me amazing!"
"Geroff!" she spluttered. "You're just saying that."
"It's true," he insisted. "Do you ever think we'll get over this? The being dumped here thing, I mean."
"I hope so," she answered honestly. "It hurts so much, and I miss the TARDIS; probably not as much as you do…"
"I know," he said with a sad sigh. "Our connection with her makes that especially awful. Aw, I'm sorry Donna for getting us chucked out! I really am! I messed everything up for you, and now you're stuck with living a mundane life with a person you can't live without but need to escape from."
She took in his grim expression, his regretful tone of voice, and his desperate demeanour. Wanting to ease his pain, she lifted a hand to smooth his cheek. "Hey! Stop making yourself sound like the wicked fairy," she admonished him softly. "You made the right decision at the right time under extenuating circumstances. Don't beat yourself up over it. I'm sorry if I've been taking it out on you; but I miss him when I don't want to slap him into next Tuesday. Do you understand?"
"Yeah, I do," he whispered back, and pulled her into a deep hug. "Ditto."