4: Ephemera. Epilogue?
A vignette in this universe that I wrote around Christmas last year. More may follow, but only sometimes, since I do think that Donna and River's story is done, at least so far as I can tell it.
The Doctor and Donna. In the TARDIS.
This Doctor. That Donna, all riot-words and sly smiles, her old copy of Body in the Library clutched in one hand. "So, you swapped me out for a younger ginger—"
"Now," he spluttered. "Now that's not—"
"Another ginger, then. The ginger married—"
"—of course she married. Fairy-tale girl, Amelia Pond. It was a great wedding. You'd have had a laugh."
Donna Noble shifted, perching on the TARDIS console in a way that, somehow, reminded the Doctor both of River and, eerily, his younger self. A little too much strangeness in either picture, even for him. "You know, Doctor," she said, "I'm a bit sick of weddings."
Donna rolled her eyes. "No. Henry the flipping-eighth. Obviously me. And who's fault is that?"
"y—oh, yes. Probably. Her, too."
"Anything that doesn't involve a pyramid isn't worth the effort, for her," he mused, grinning at Donna's brief, confused look and feeling a sneaky sort of joy that River Song had yet to tell his best mate quite everything. Donna caught the look—always more perceptive than she knew, that woman—and shook her head, her caught-back hair flicking a monitor.
They were sitting there, the pair of them, looking into each other's eyes and thinking about the same woman. There were weirder things than space. Donna cleared her throat. "So, she married a longer, skinnier bloke than you, even, who is also a Roman, maybe plastic, and together they...made River?"
He was blushing. Donna looked. She blinked hard, to check. Looked again, and he was still there. His long, bony hands all twisting together when he wasn't plucking at his lapel or touching that unforgivable bow-tie or pushing his hair off his too-large face. His whole body blushed.
"Well, yes," he said. "Weddings have...um...wedding nights. But they had help. See. It was Sexy."
"Did you look?—"
"—no! I mean—oh, you should know what I mean. You've felt her. You know River." His hand had shifted to the TARDIS's near-wall, splaying there for a moment. "Amy, Rory, the TARDIS."
Donna looked at the Doctor's far-off, too-close face, and sighed. "And she saved me," she said.
"Yes. Yes, she did."
"And do you really think," asked Donna Noble, eyebrow cocked and eyes serious above her smile, "That we can't do a better job of saving her, between us?"
He opened his mouth to speak, but she covered it quickly, her hands surer and stronger than when he had known her, but still brash and bold and, gloriously, herself.
"I think," she said, "We should at least try."