Author's Notes: Grr! I forgot Author's Notes when I first published. Okay, must be quick. In case you haven't noticed, I do not own Doctor Who, the Doctor, Donna or Christmas. Maybe I own Zara but I wouldn't tell Donna that. Not for anything. Anyway, this takes place a couple of months after the end of Regarding Mrs. Smith. I'm feeling a little festive and my prequel is getting kind of angsty. Oh, slight note, remember that thing that happened Christmas/New Year's 2009 and it was the End of... Something? Yeah, that's not happening here. So just forget anything you ever knew about that at least while you read this and we can call it EOT denial if you want. Fine by me. Enjoy!
The Doctor awoke from his sleep to find that his bed was more crowded than he remembered as the TARDIS hummed softly. He reached across and ran his fingers through Zara's delicate ginger baby hair.
"What are you doing here?"
Her arms were locked around Donna's neck as they both slept. Donna, still sleeping, reached an arm across and felt something else between her pronounced baby bump and the Doctor. She opened her eyes, looking at Zara first, then the Doctor.
"Did you get her out?," she whispered.
"No, she must have climbed out again."
Donna sighed and wrapped her arms around Zara. "Mummy's little monkey."
In the two months or so since they had resumed their travels on the TARDIS, Zara had developed even more, no longer hampered by the Doctor's need for secrecy. She wasn't that much bigger than a normal human of her age, but she was sturdier and better coordinated and had begun to string together small sentences in English and big ones in High Gallifreyan, though she didn't always get that perfectly. The Doctor scooted himself closer and put his hand over Donna's bump.
"How was she?," he asked.
"Brilliant," smiled Donna as she yawned. "I taught her to swim."
"Oi! Try to leave me something."
Donna raised an eyebrow even though both her eyes were closed. "Leave you something? Tell you what, quantum physics, history of the universe, banana species..."
"Leave me something fun," said the Doctor.
"Those things aren't fun now?"
"Not to a baby," protested the Doctor.
Zara stirred, she looked up at Donna who opened her eyes.
"Hello, sweetheart," Donna said softly.
Zara pointed at Donna's belly. "Baby."
"That's right," said Donna, "there's a baby in there."
"Where will baby live?," asked Zara.
The Doctor grinned as Donna sighed.
"We've been through all that, Zara. The baby will live with us, she's your little sister and we love her very much," said Donna.
"Oh, sweetheart, really," moaned Donna. She looked at the Doctor. "Help me untangle her. I've got to use the toilet."
"There we are, Zara," said the Doctor, gently pulling Zara's arms off Donna. Donna escaped to the bathroom quickly and the Doctor rested Zara on his chest. She started babbling in High Gallifreyan.
The Doctor sighed. "I keep telling you she's coming, Zara. If you don't believe me now, you're in for a bit of a shock later."
"Yes, I know. And how long are you going to keep referring to yourself in the third person? I know you're trying to master two languages here, but first person pronouns are important, otherwise people are going to think you have an egotistical bent."
"What? Like if you said 'I'm the Doctor'?"
The Doctor looked up at Donna , backlit by the bathroom light.
"That's different," he said.
"She's ten months old," said Donna, getting herself back in the bed, "I'll not have you criticizing her language skills. Here, beautiful, come to Mummy."
Zara crawled over to Donna. She grabbed the top of Donna's nightgown and pulled down, latching onto a breast. She had always been a little pushy about nursing, but lately it was unleashed. Donna had been awakened no less than three times when Zara had crawled out of her cot and helped herself to a breast. Donna's mother had insisted over the phone- because of course, now she was a gran, she knew everything or rather, even more of it- that Donna wean her altogether, but Donna couldn't bear the idea of it, not until she was ready and besides, she'd have to share with a sibling soon enough.
"Well, there's the problem," said the Doctor.
"No, not that, you always refer to yourself in the third person when speaking to her. She probably thinks that's the proper way to construct a sentence."
"Not always and not as if I'm the only one!," said Donna. "In the middle of that thing with the King of Siam, I do recall someone saying 'Who's Daddy's ginger Time Baby?'"
"All the same, perhaps we should stop."
Donna rolled her eyes. "Who's Mummy's girl?", she cooed at Zara. "Who likes Mummy's milk?"
"Fine, don't take me seriously."
"Who wants to go see Father Christmas?," said Donna, ignoring the Doctor's insulted expression.
"What?," exclaimed the Doctor.
Donna sighed. "Christmas with my family. We agreed to this, ages ago and we can't just skip one. She'll never let me hear the end of it."
"Yes, but no one mentioned Father Christmas!"
"My mum wants pictures and besides, I made the booking months ago when I didn't know I had a Time Baby."
"Let me just make sure I'm following you, Donna, you want to take the most special baby in the universe and just let her sit in Father Christmas' lap? Are you mad?"
"No, I want to take my daughter to visit Father Christmas and have some photos taken. Is that too much to ask?"
"The human race, just hand your children over to a stranger, why don't you?"
"Oi, what about the Time Lord race? Didn't you all just hand your children over to be raised by strangers when they were eight? I think that probably does more long term harm than taking a portrait with Father Christmas!"
Zara still nursed happily. She had grown used to the sound of her parents fighting, Donna thought she might even find it comforting.
"That was different!"
"Yes, it's much worse."
"Christmas is dangerous enough without you handing Zara over to Father Christmas."
"Would you please listen to how ridiculous you sound? Christmas of terror," she drew out the last words derisively.
"I'm sorry, are you the same woman who was almost eaten by giant spiders on Christmas Eve?"
Donna looked the Doctor squarely in the face. He might have swallowed a bit, Scary Donna was about to emerge.
"Now, spaceman, you listen here, I might hate Christmas, you might hate Christmas, but Zara and any other Ginger Time Babies, are going to have the most wonderful, magical Christmases ever. I don't care if you have to fight off invasions or ghosts or stop the Titanic from crashing into Buckingham Palace, that's why you're the Doctor. Okay, time boy?"
The Doctor saw Zara's eyes get big as she awaited his answer to Donna.
"Christmas. Right. Love Christmas, me."
"That's what I thought you said."