Warning: contains angst, but maybe not as much the previous piece.
Summary: The companion/sequel to "Waiting For Tomorrow", the Doctor left Donna behind, and she's about to find out why.
Disclaimer: If I owned these characters I'd have made their life far happier than this.
A/N: So many heart-wrenching gifs and polite requests forced me to write this; especially beachy_geek who kick-started it all.
Aching For Tomorrow
The Doctor had watched Donna as sat waiting on the hill. Several times it had been within his power to end her pain by just reaching out and touching her, but he hadn't. He just couldn't do that to her. The Doctor was a better person than that!
He'd already ruined things between them; he was sure of that. Why had he taken that step? What had possessed him to be so forward? He wanted to kick himself for his foolishness.
Oh Donna! How easy it had been to cajole and persuade you to make an old man very happy; almost too easy. Your heart was too loving, too accepting, and most of all, too trusting. Friends shouldn't do that to each other, especially best friends… best friends who should know better.
He tried to shut off his angry thoughts that led to self-recriminations and self-loathing. All she had ever done since she first stepped foot willingly into the TARDIS (and if he was honest, it had happened when she'd been unwilling) was support him through thick and thin, joining in with his delight as they explored new planets, righted wrongs and fought injustice. Despite all her bluster, she had very rarely done anything that was selfish. Instead she had been compassionate towards every living creature she had met; and that had especially included him.
He hadn't meant to seduce her; it sort of happened… He'd wracked his brain to work out why and how exactly he had chosen that path; but all he knew for sure was that he had wanted her for a very long time. It had almost crippled him.
Was that fever to blame? The one that had caused his body to tremble with the cold so much Donna had been forced to climb beneath the bedcovers in an attempt to keep him warm. It had been a pretty good attempt now he thought about it! He had warmed up a treat! Too much so; maybe it hadn't been so good after all. And the kiss… well, that had started off as a mark of gratitude. Yes, it had started that way, he thought; plus a little bit of an experiment. Not much of one. Just enough to see what she tasted like without an evil combination in his mouth.
Donna had laughed at the time, asking him if he was after another detox! How could he say it was anything else after that? So he had claimed it was a very special form of detox that needed a different type of stimulation to purge his body. Unfortunately he had purged his body of the wrong item; or should that be items? It was wrong, that was all he knew.
Not that he was complaining about the actual experience! No way! That had been fantastic, enthralling, lasting for hours beyond his expectations; and a total nightmare… He didn't trust himself anymore, and Donna deserved better. Far better than him.
When Donna had fallen asleep he had worried what the consequences of his actions would be. She had looked so cute and adorable, snuggled up against him, plucking at his hearts strings with her vulnerability. So he had immediately taken her home and told her they would meet on that particular hill; and as he had said the words he had been trying to convince himself that he meant them. But he hadn't; not in the slightest.
What he had done instead was go back and peek at her, keeping well out of her line of sight, or finding a particularly good shadow to hide in when he didn't use a perception filter; which he had, quite a lot. He thought he could abandon her completely; but he was wrong with that idea too. He had to keep returning to her; it was as if he was destined to be by her side.
Several times he had almost cracked and ran to her. Why was she so vigilant? How had he gained such a faithful friend? She ought to despise him instead of clinging to this misguided sense of loyalty. He thought he had managed to harden his hearts… and then he heard her cry.
Held within the arms of her adoring grandfather, Donna had absolutely howled with grief, and the Doctor's hearts had broken. What had she done to deserve this sadness? What could he do to make this easier for her? And then he had heard her words as they were carried on the chill air. "I've lost him!" she had told Wilf. Words that were so forlorn to his ears, and he reacted without thinking.
He tossed aside the perception filter key that hung around his neck, and he ran. He ran to be the one comforting her. He ran because he might have a chance to correct this. He ran because he cared.
Wilf had released Donna from his embrace as soon as he had seen the Doctor appear in the dim light. There had been no confusion as to what the Time Lord had wanted as he approached them huddled on that hill. "Look, Donna," Wilf had whispered to her with glee. All he wanted was for his girl to be happy again.
Donna had made a sound of confusion and then lifted her head as the Doctor reached the outer limit of her personal zone. She could hardly believe her eyes, and expected this to be some trick by her addled mind. Her lips tried to make the shape to utter a sound, but nothing came out.
The Doctor stood lightly panting from the effort of running so hard. "Donna," he gasped out. "I'm… I.. I shouldn't have… I need…"
"Why don't you sit down, lad," Wilf kindly offered, and shifted away from Donna so that the Doctor could approach her properly.
"Thanks, Wilf," he replied, but his attention was elsewhere. The Doctor immediately squatted down, gaining eye level contact with Donna, and begged her to understand with his intense gaze. "Donna, what can I say to make this better?"
"The truth would help. Something like why you left me," she numbly said.
He took hold of one of her hands as though she could anchor him in his stormy sea. "I'm sorry; so sorry. I spoilt everything."
Donna nodded her head in agreement. "That you did."
"I'm not asking you to forgive me, because I know you can never do that. It's just… oh Donna, I can't do it! I have to save you from suffering my attention," he softly cried.
"Suffering? What the heck are you on about? Has this got to do with that night…," she began to ask.
"Yes!" he interrupted. "I treated you so badly, and I'm likely to do so again. So I made sure you were out of harm's way." Two seconds later he yelled out, "Ow! What was that for?"
"That's for playing god and not asking me; you dimnoid!" she fumed at him. "You really know how to mess up big time, don't you? Has it even crossed your mind that perhaps we should have discussed all this rather than reacted like a kicked dog? Obviously not! Well thanks for asking, Spaceman! Good grief, you didn't even have the decency to say you hated the time we spent together."
"That's not true!" he insisted. "I liked it too much."
"Too much?" she scorned him. "How does all this translate into liking it too much when you clearly think I don't deserve to be anywhere near you anymore...?"
He shut off her words with a searing kiss that took her breath away. He could sit there and let her think such a thing, and he told himself that had been his only motivation, until he allowed himself to enjoy the intimate moment. But something was off… After some moments he pulled back to say, "You taste differently. What have you been doing?"
"Sitting here waiting for you, funnily enough," she answered tritely. She wasn't going to let him off just the hook just because he had kissed her!
"I know; I was here too," he confessed.
His answer was her face crumpling and the tears starting up again. "You bastard!" she cried.
He hurriedly cradled her head, keen for her to understand his motives. "I couldn't stay away. I tried; I tried so hard, but... I need you in my life. I need you so much and I'm nothing without you."
"Then get a dog," she retorted. "They stay faithful, and will keep you company without getting on your nerves like I did," she added bitterly.
"You are far more than that to me!" he said indignantly.
"Okay, I was your pet human," she conceded with bitterness.
"What? Where do you get these hare brained schemes? Was my pet indeed!" he spluttered. "You are the most precious thing in my universe. I would move mountains for you, swop constellations, steal…"
Donna shut him up by placing a hand over his mouth. "Yeah, yeah, I get the picture. But you're not saying anything about us and what happened! You're nothing more than a hit and run driver, and I thought you were more than that. I hoped you were more than that," she explained in anguished tones.
"Ah!" he exclaimed sheepishly. "I see. Well the truth is, I'm frightened of what I'll do to you. I was… I shouldn't have… I took advantage and… you must hate me."
"Why hate?" she instantly asked. "I'm bloody annoyed, and really confused; but hate you? No, I could never do that. I only hate what you do sometimes."
The Doctor shifted to kneel beside her instead as he took in her answer. "Am I hearing this right? You don't bear a grudge; and still like me?"
Donna gave his hand a squeeze. "When have I ever said otherwise? Especially now when you've given me what I always wanted," she said softly.
"A husband?" he questioned. "When did I do that?"
She chuckled at his confused expression. "With this ring I thee biodamp," she quoted.
He spluttered in surprise. "Well…. Yes… I did say those words." He nervously scratched his neck, adding, "In that case it took us an awfully long time to have the wedding night! OH! About that… it was a mistake. A terrible mistake."
"A terrible mistake," she echoed despondently. "I see."
"Don't cry, Donna! Please don't cry! I can't cope when you do," he almost sobbed, crossing the last remaining distance between them to engulf her in a comforting hug. "I'm here now," he quietly consoled her, placing a kiss on her temple. "And I won't leave you again." He kissed her cheek. "Even if you want 'just friends', I'll live with that." He placed another kiss on her cheek, but closer to her mouth this time.
She hugged him back, giving in to her need to feel his loving arms around her once more. It didn't matter what his motives were, because she could pretend for a few seconds that it had been pure love. Then his last words sunk in, and she raised her puzzled frown to seek out his eyes. "Just friends? When did I say 'just friends'? How could I after what happened between us? I thought you knew that; I thought you knew me," she stated as firmly as she could.
"I do now," he confirmed, ghosting his lips over hers as relief flooded his system. Expecting her gasp in reply, he took the opportunity to kiss her.
Neither of them had noticed Wilf sneaking away, and then heading back down to Sylvia as fast as his legs would allow him to share the news. His Donna was back with the Doctor, and all was well!
In fact they hardly noticed much else beyond each other for quite a while as they traded kiss after tender kiss. Breaking apart, the Doctor couldn't the silly grin from his face. "I've wanted to do that with you for so long. But I've got to say… you definitely taste different to when we…" He added a vague whirly gesture to denote their night of passion.
Donna suddenly looked sheepish rather than dazed. "About that, Spaceman. I hadn't been referring to a husband; instead I have something to tell you. I'm pregnant."
"That explains it," he said calmly, smacking his tongue to the roof of his mouth. His mind was racing away with panic, elation, anger, guilt, and pride; and all squashed in with gratitude. The universe was offering him Donna and a family; and he didn't want to mess it up.
Donna waited a few beats, but he was staying quiet. "Is that it? No other questions you want to ask me? And don't you dare ask me who the father is, because I shall…"
"Donna!" he yelled, halting her tirade. He could feel the underlying terror pulsing through her body, and tenderly reached out to caress her cheek. "Oh Donna! Do you think you could hide your mother's axe before she gets the chance to use it on me?"
With a sob, she threw herself into his welcoming arms, and back into his life.