Prompt Request: market scene from Stairway to Chiswick Heaven
-Here is a request: Remember my favorite scene you wrote about Donna remembering how she and Ten were at an open-air market and she kept bugging him about the pendant until he relented and told her what it meant and then went ahead and bought it for her? It was the story about the ghost in the stairwell. Can you give us a few more paragraphs about what went on that day at the market?- canterlevi
Summary: Just because you see can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there. This is a companion piece to Stairway to Chiswick Heaven; filling in what happened in the market.
Disclaimer: Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away… Oops! Wrong Sci Fi universe! These aren't mine, since you asked.
A/N: Written for the Big Bang Challenge at bbcland as a belated birthday present for canterlevi
Market Made In Heaven
She fiddled with her dangling necklace, and contemplated it. It had caught her eye from the very first moment she'd seen it; the symbol on it was old and ancient, written in a past script that was long dead. "But what does it mean?" she'd asked the Doctor, exasperation oozing out of every pore when he reluctantly tried to answer her.
"It means 'adored', Donna," he replied; and she had felt his words weigh her down.
Had he been thinking of someone else? Of course he'd been doing that! Was she thick or something? But she'd looked longingly at the item, and in his guilt he'd bought it for her, and she'd let him, knowing that was the true reason. She loved it still, this small amulet made from an alien alloy.
What was the matter with her? Why was she letting that moment get her down? He'd bought it for her, and she'd been grateful. Extremely grateful, as she recalled. In fact, the day had got infinitely better because he'd realised what a prawn he was being, going melancholy on her. And he had then looked at her; really looked at her for the first time since they'd met. Her delight in receiving the pendant had broken through his fug and let him see daylight properly; daylight that streamed through her glorious hair, picking out the golden vibrant colours, dazzling him with their liveliness.
That had been the first time he'd kissed her: right there in a crowded market on an alien world, among various stalls of artefacts and the smells of a thousand meals wafting towards them. Through all of that she had concentrated on him; always only him.
There had been no spoken words of declaration, just a slow acceptance that this moment was perfect to meld their lives towards a relationship that could work.
It had been a delicious kiss, full of fire and need. They had traded many more kisses that night; that wonderful night, when she had become the Doctor's and he had become hers. That was a wonderful memory indeed.
Wow! The market in Canganure was amazing! It wasn't just the size of it that hit them when they have left the TARDIS; it was much more than that. There was a wonderland of colours, from the displays on the stalls to the clothing the people wore. It all made Donna feel dowdy in comparison.
She had plucked at the cloth of her top in dismay. "Look at me, Spaceman! I look like a mess compared to all these people," she had loudly lamented. "What must you think of me?"
He had cast nothing more than a precautionary glance in her direction. "You look fine. Yep! Fine."
Her eyes had narrowed at him. He was lying to her again; she always knew when he was. Good grief, what was the matter with him? Couldn't he even look at her for more than two seconds now? She sighed in exasperation, and vowed she would find something in the market to lift her out of the doldrums. "Yeah, I thought so," she vaguely said. "I'll go and deal with that right away." She flounced off towards the nearest stall with something bright and shiny.
"What?" he exclaimed; his attention caught by her determined blur as she swept away. 'Just like a galleon in full rig,' he thought for a split second, and then hastily followed her. He caught up with her by a stall festooned with material of every hue you could ever want or describe.
"Lady want to try?" the stallholder had asked her, pressing a particularly impressive piece of cloth against her skin.
Donna had laughed with delight as the super soft fabric swished across her chest. "It's beautiful!" she had declared, fingering it as though it was the Holy Grail. "But I can't buy it. I've got no money."
"What about husband there? Have he money?" the stallholder had asked, pointing at the Doctor.
He'd replied with his patented 'who, me?' look.
"He's not my husband," Donna had explained to the stallholder. "He doesn't think that way."
The stallholder had held the Doctor's gaze for a moment. "Shame he no want you," the stallholder had told her, removing the fabric from her shoulder and neatly replacing it on his display. "You come back later; I find you real man."
Donna had almost doubled up in laughter as they'd walked away. "What's so funny?" the Doctor had demanded tetchily. "He was offering to get you the husband you want."
"No he wasn't! He was offering to get me someone… Oh never mind," she'd answered, and stopped to sniff at some food.
He took hold of her arm to gain her attention. "Tell me. What was he really saying to you?" he asked more softly.
She gave him the smile which came before bad news. "He obviously thought you weren't man enough for the position; but don't worry. I know that's not true," she told him far too brightly.
Before he could think of a suitable answer in his defence, she had been distracted away. This time she had alighted on a stall selling jewellery. He picked up the odd piece wondering where it had been made, when she turned to him holding up a pendant for him to admire. "Look at this! Isn't it gorgeous?"
"Yeah, lovely," he had automatically answered without looking.
Donna prodded his shoulder to draw his attention properly onto her. "What does it mean?" she'd asked eagerly.
"Nothing," he'd instantly replied; but that wasn't true.
He felt his breath leave his body as he looked at the symbol on the pendant. His mother had worn almost exactly the same one when he was a child. It had been forbidden to adorn yourself with anything so grotesque as jewellery if it wasn't a sign of office or family. "Your father made me this, so… Shh! Don't tell anyone," she had whispered to him.
He was brought out of his reminiscing by Donna asking again if the pendant symbol meant anything. "It must mean something," she reasoned.
Oh boy, did it! It represented all that had loved him for being him; deep, unconditional love. "Not really," he had feebly answered her.
"Doctor! Just tell me! Please! And I promise I'll drop it," she said; already on the edge of understanding.
He heard his voice catch as he replied, "It means 'adored', Donna."
Her response had surprised him. All she'd said was "Oh!" She hadn't begged him for it, or used a pout to make him feel guilty like Rose would have done. Instead she had carefully considered the amulet in her hand as though she was thinking about the meaning it could hold for him, and had then tenderly put it down as though she was saying goodbye to it. Just like his mother had done that last day on Gallifrey.
There were so many similarities between Donna and his mother, and he had never noticed it before. From the way she shielded him from any harm without being possessive, to the way she accepted who he was despite him being a complete prawn every now and then. She saw him for who he was rather than who she wanted or expected him to be. And he realised in that moment that he was infinitely grateful for that fact.
"Let me buy it for you," he heard himself offer.
The stallholder had perked up at that, but Donna had gently shaken her head at him. "That's okay, Spacemen."
"Please! Let me," he had insisted pulling out some notes from his jacket pocket, and had handed them over to the delighted stallholder. He had then stepped forward to pick up the pendant, undid the clasp and fastened it around her neck.
Her eyes travelled up from watching his action as the pendant bounced on her cleavage, glistening as it caught the diminished sunlight. He saw realisation spread across her features that the gift was truly hers, and then the sheer joy that he had bought it for her. Her whole being lit up, and she beamed at him. Then he was engulfed in a bone crushing hug that threatened to take his breath away. "Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she had exclaimed; and if he'd enthusiastically hugged her back there was no harm in that, was there?
The sun had come out then from behind a large raincloud, basking the whole market in its light; but most of all it had externally lit Donna. Not only did she shine from within, the universe agreed with her! Every single colour in her vibrant hair had been picked out, dazzling him with its beauty.
She no longer reminded him of his mother; she had far exceeded that. She was Donna. His Donna: his companion, his friend, his best friend, his saviour; his hearts, and his soul.
The knowledge pushed him forward and he kissed her. He couldn't believe he had actually kissed her! He'd kissed her: right there in a crowded market on an alien world, among various stalls of artefacts and the smells of a thousand meals wafting towards them. All he could think of was her, as she filled his senses and soothed away the last of the heartache within him.
And the biggest wonder of it all had been that she'd let him.