Prompt: Ten/Donna pairing. Somehow, some way, the Doctor becomes aware of Donna's horrible opinion of herself and sets out to show her how special she is. Lots of hurt/comfort here, maybe with a bit of angst, and a heavy helping of romance.

Summary: the Doctor needs to notice a thing or two about Donna, before it is too late.

Disclaimer: If I say my prayers every night as my New Year resolution, do you think they would become mine?

A/N: I might have got the hurt and comfort in, but I'm desperately hoping you think it is romantic. Whatever the result, I hope you have/had a brilliant Christmas and a superb New Year!

Tardiness Tales


The TARDIS wheezed at them and then died. "Come on!" the Doctor encouraged her with a bang with his right hand on the console. "Don't do this to me!"

"Perhaps you shouldn't have used the mallet earlier," suggested Donna as she stood glumly opposite him. "That sort of thing is enough to put anyone off."

"Yes; thank you, Donna!" the Doctor snapped at her testily.

"Anytime," she retorted sarcastically. What a complete tart he was at times! Ignoring his self-focused ranting, she idly sauntered over to the outer doors and peered out. It was pitch black outside, and rain threatened in the air. That was one good thing about being a Londoner; you could read the weather like that. If it wasn't raining it would be soon, according to the old joke! She turned to try it out on the Doctor and saw him bearing down on her, scowling heavily.

"Move, Donna! Don't just stand there like a lemon," he told her tersely.

She stepped out to give him room to escape into the night air, and the TARDIS doors slammed shut. "What did you do to her?" she demanded to know.

"Nothing," he insisted; but apparently he had done something because the TARDIS dematerialised in front of their very eyes. "What?" the Doctor shouted in confusion. "I didn't do anything!"

"Yeah, and I'm a Dutchman," Donna commented. "Well don't just stand there, dumbo! Find out where she has gone!"

It was only then that the Doctor thought to draw out his sonic screwdriver and trace the TARDIS. "She's gone that way," he said, pointing in a vague direction. "About three miles away, according to this."

Donna looked about them and saw nothing beyond the country lane they stood in and vegetation of the hedgerow variety. "Great! I suppose we'd better start walking," she stated. How could he? What possessed him to be so mean to the TARDIS when she was supposed to be his constant companion? It puzzled her how much he took things for granted.

Her mood dropped further when she accidentally stepped in a large puddle and instantly got wet feet. Oh how wonderful! No doubt her toes would be painful ages before they reached the TARDIS again; if she let them reach her. Donna let out an angry sigh. Then to add insult to injury she caught her foot on a stone, and she felt something rip in her ankle. "Ow!" she squealed out in shock.

The Doctor's scorn was all too evident in his voice. "Are you wearing the wrong shoes again?"

Donna limped a few steps before replying, "I have no idea. What's this season's look for pissing off the TARDIS?"

Funnily enough he wasn't in the mood to answer that one quickly. All he did was stomp along the lane much faster, leaving her to struggle to keep up. Not that he was bothering to talk to her, or check to see if she was following. Donna tried not to think of all those horror films where the person struggling at the back was picked off by the beast. She certainly knew which phrases to avoid saying in such circumstances.

The beam of car headlights suddenly lit up the lane, and she felt relief that there was life out in the wilderness after all; even though it was going to be brief knowing her luck. On a whim she turned towards the headlights and waved. You never knew; the driver might be friendly, or mildly distracting from the lump of sulkiness walking in front of her.

The car slowed down, there was the sound of a window lowering, and then the voice of a man rang out. "Are you two in trouble? Can I be of any help?"

Donna leaned thankfully towards the car window to speak to the man. "Yes, our vehicle is having a spot of bother and we need to get to the next town or village. Can you tell us how far it is, please?" she asked as brightly as she could. It was only as she looked in that she realised the man had a female passenger sitting beside him. She instantly felt slightly safer.

"Trowdon is just up the road," the man told her. "But it's a far old walk. We can give you a lift if you like."

"Ooh, would you?" Donna answered excitedly. "We'd be ever so grateful."

"No problem," the man replied, and smiled at her. "In you both get."

She turned to call out to the Doctor, but he was standing right behind her, startling her slightly. They both said their thanks as they climbed into the back of the car. "I'm Alice, and this is my husband Philip," the woman told them.

"I'm the Doctor and this is Donna," the Doctor introduced them from the backseat.

Alice smiled consolingly at Donna. "Is your foot any better?" she asked.

Donna automatically rubbed her ankle. "It's getting there, thanks. Not that this big lummox noticed anything."

The Doctor felt his cheeks burn with embarrassment. "You never said," he hissed at her.

"I didn't know I had to. I thought the shout of pain had been a big clue," she said back.

"I was busy looking at the stars trying to work out exactly where we were," he told her petulantly in explanation.

"I feel so much better for that. Thanks a bunch," she remarked, and turned her attention back to Alice. "Have you had a good day?"

Alice laughed; it was a delightful tinkling sound. "It's been wonderful! I don't think it could have gone any better. What do you think, Philip?"

He grabbed Alice's hand and briefly kissed it. "Absolutely wonderful so far; and soon it will be even better when we get to Little Tintern," Philip told her. He then craned his neck to ask them in the back, "So, how long have you two been married?"

Both the Doctor and Donna spluttered their usual denial; and got back the usual disbelief. At that point the sonic screwdriver quivered in the Doctor's pocket, and he announced that he wanted them to stop the car because they had reached their required destination.

"What do you think? They're having an affair, a secret affair?" Alice asked Philip as the car pulled away.

Donna went to shout an answer when she noticed what had been scrawled all over the back of the car: JUST MARRIED

"I wasn't expecting that," the Doctor muttered to her. "That's just…"

"I know," Donna answered with a resigned sigh. "Who do you think the TARDIS was punishing by letting us run into them? You or me?"

"I thought it was me. How is she punishing you?" the Doctor asked in confusion.

She threw him a glare, which didn't have its full power in the dim light from a nearby cottage. "You are so dumb at times! Don't you ever listen to what people say to us?"

"Of course I listen. They asked about our non-existent marriage. Everybody asks about it! What's new?" he huffed.

"This time we weren't messing about outside the Oodsphere, or standing in Pompeii, on a lawn or even in front of idiots wielding guns! This time we were walking along a dark country lane with our back to people and we STILL get mistaken for a married couple. What the heck is the matter with me?" she demanded.

"With you?" he questioned, and cast a glance over her. "I can't see anything wrong."

"Oh yeah? I must have an invisible neon sign pointing at my head saying 'unclean; avoid at all costs', and the only person who can't see it is you because…" She bit her lip then and instantly shut up as a sob tried to wrench its way out of her chest. "It doesn't matter," she said flatly. "There she is!" she announced, and began to run towards the TARDIS standing about forty feet away.

"Donna, what do you mean by it not mattering?" the Doctor asked, but Donna wasn't paying him any heed as she raced up to the door and fumbled with her key.

He let her go, knowing she needed to hide for a moment, and he slowly walked into the TARDIS too. He flung his coat over the usual strut and approached the console. "What was all that for? Where you trying to upset her by making us meet newlyweds? You know she gets defensive about weddings and stuff. As if she needed reminding about that business with Lance…" He forced his attention onto dematerialising. "I'm sorry for upsetting you earlier, but please don't take it out on Donna; she doesn't deserve it. She suffers enough because of my stupidity as it is." He contemplated where Donna had possibly gone. "I'll go make her a cup of tea. They say tea makes everything better."

Donna had gone straight into her room and thrown herself on the bed. She lay flexing her fingers in front of her face just to prove she wasn't invisible. Then again, how could such a big lump like her be invisible? A bit daft that! What was that old saying? 'There are none so blind as those who do not want to see'; or something like that. Yeah, that explained her invisibility perfectly now she came to think about it. She was her own perception filter.

There was a sharp rap on her door. "Donna? Are you coming out? There's tea and toast in the kitchen!" the Doctor called out.

She gave herself a mental smack for being so stupid and for expecting so much. "I'll be right out!" she called back. He could be so sweet at times! He might be an outer space dunce, but for the time being he was her outer space dunce. She tried not to think about it abruptly ending if they ever came across Rose.

"How do you fancy a trip to the 1950s?" the Doctor suddenly asked.

"As long as you don't miss them and we end up in Nazi Germany I'll be fine," Donna answered cheerily. "Do I have to dress up or can I go as I am?"

"Erm…" He carefully considered her outfit as she sat in the kitchen. "You might want to reconsider the trousers, and the hairstyle," he answered.

"I'll go and get changed," she said resignedly, and stood. "What sort of place are we going to?"

"Anywhere you might get mistaken as my wife," he risked joking.

"I'll wear the pregnancy bodysuit then, shall I?" she threw at him as she left the kitchen, and laughed heartily at his expression of horror.

Donna stood and checked her outfit in the mirror. The pencil skirt was quite flattering, as was the tailored jacket. She wasn't so sure about the hat the TARDIS had given her, or the gloves. The stockings were similar to what she'd worn in 1926, but the underwear was a slight improvement on that.

When she entered the console room she was surprised to see the Doctor wearing a hat too. He never wore anything remotely appropriate as a rule. "I thought I'd try dressing up for a change," he said, answering her unspoken question.

"Oh yeah? Who are you hiding from? It had better not be you," she retorted, and caught his guilty expression. "Did you go to the 50s before with someone else?" she asked, and instantly decided that she didn't want to go into that. "Never mind; I'll protect you. Fortunately Gramps made me watch loads of old black and white films from back then."

They stepped out of the TARDIS to find themselves on a train. "Smell that, Donna!" the Doctor immediately enthused when the coke burning engine fumes wafted in.

Donna wrinkled her nose up in disgust. "Cigarette smoke in a confined space. How delicious. Hey ho, happy childhood memories," she said sarcastically.

"Let's see if we can find a 'no smoking' carriage then," the Doctor said, taking hold of her arm to guide her.

Donna sighed. The train journey seemed to be taking an eternity. Numerous small holdings swept by as the train raced towards its destination, but Donna wasn't really looking. Instead, she was trying to surreptitiously adjust her stockings that had decided to try and travel halfway around her thigh.

"What's the matter, Donna?" the Doctor asked in a low whisper. "Has something crawled up your leg?"

She eyed the horsehair seating they were sat on suspiciously. "I wouldn't put it passed anything to escape from in there to chance its luck by eating me; but no, that isn't the problem," she whispered back.

Fortunately none of the other passengers in the railway carriage had paid any notice to her wriggling so far, but there was no way she'd expose her legs to all and sundry. The man seated opposite had definitely noticed her neckline, since his eyes kept darting there every now and then, like a homing pigeon. Any moment now Donna would jump up and sock him one in the kisser, she had promised herself. She carefully regarded her gloved hand, and formed a fist. What a shame it would be to get blood all over her nice new gloves; she'd felt so sophisticated wearing them too.

The Doctor placed his hand deliberately over her fist. "Tell me," he ordered her in a low voice next to her ear.

In answer, she briefly glanced across at the man seated opposite. The man who was trying to look innocently back at her, and then winked when he thought the Doctor had looked away. What she didn't know was that the Doctor had noticed, and he wasn't pleased at all.

After the Doctor had stared at the man for some seconds he raised his hat briefly in greeting, and said, "Lovely wife you've got there. You must be very happy."

The Doctor moved his hand to clasp Donna's hand properly. "Oh I am; very happy," he evenly replied. "We're very happy together."

Donna reached up to flick some invisible lint from the Doctor's shoulder. "Don't start… darling. You know how these things escalate and people get hurt," she warned him. She then leaned in to whisper, "Can you help me find where the toilet is, please?"

"It's…," he began to answer, pointing an index finger, and then caught her worried expression. He smiled at her in understanding. "I'll come with you," he said, and stood taking her with him. Giving the man opposite another glare, he led her out into the train corridor.

He knew she wouldn't say anything to him yet, so he held open the door to the carriage toilet and followed her in, locking the door behind him.

"What the hell are you doing?" she demanded, obviously embarrassed with his action.

"Did you genuinely want to use the toilet?" he asked, raising an eyebrow in question. "I got the impression you didn't."

Donna immediately blushed. "Doesn't matter if I did or I didn't as people will assume we're up to something in here," she replied.

"Yes; it's called talking. Now will you once and for all tell me what the matter is?" he asked in confusion.

"Doctor, it was a simple thing like wonky stockings, but now they'll think…" She then pinked up again.

"Oh dear! We can't have people thinking. Whatever will they do next? Something like form ideas, perhaps," he pondered. "Stop worrying, and let me help you."

Then to her horror he knelt down and started to lift up her skirt. "Hands!" She smacked at his wrists, but he determinedly ignored her.

"Where exactly is the problem? Oh, I see," he said as he examined her stockings, and edged her skirt further up. "You've got a definite kink in the seams back here," he said, running an expert hand up the back of her legs. "Just let me…"

The nylons shifted against her skin as his hands travelled continually upwards. Eventually she felt his hands on the bare skin at the top of her thighs between her stocking tops and her knickers. "Do you think you could stop feeling me up now, please," she huffed indignantly when his hands didn't instantly leave her flesh.

His hands flew away. "I'm terribly sorry!" he cried out in panic. "I was only…"

"Yes you were," Donna agreed forcefully. "All over my legs, in fact. And I thought that creep sitting opposite had been bad enough."

"Don't you lump me in with him! I was fully prepared to punch him on your behalf," the Doctor answered.

"Talking of that, what was with the wife bit again? And I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself in that department," she retorted.

The Doctor cautiously eyed her slapping hand. "Don't I know it," he mumbled, giving his cheek a faint sympathetic rub. "I honestly didn't mean to treat you like those other men."

"Other men?" she asked in bewilderment. "I thought there was only the perv sitting opposite who couldn't keep his eyeballs out of my cleavage."

The Doctor gave a nervous cough. "No, there were others in the carriage… Look, we don't have to go back in there," he offered.

"And let them win? Not on your nelly! I should be able to sit anywhere I like wearing anything I like without feeling threatened," Donna insisted. She faltered slightly and leant against the toilet wall. "It's not fair! I was feeling so good when we left the TARDIS, all sophisticated and it's all been spoilt. I should have known."

"Donna… I apologise, for this and everything lately. I don't mean for this to happen."

"But it does anyway. At this rate you'll want someone else instead of me, and who could blame you? So, let's go look for this alien that might have got on the train as we've stood here nattering about the price of potatoes," she said, trying to push passed him.

"No, Donna," he told her, halting her progress. "I don't think we're meant to do that at all."

"Why?" she asked in confusion. "You said there would be an alien who'd turn up on the train for us to deal with. What's changed your mind?"

"I'm suspicious that we have been sitting on this train for over an hour and nothing has happened yet that suggests alien activity. Why would an alien choose to be on a train like this? It makes no sense," he argued.

"There are plenty of people on this train, so being on here makes sense to them," Donna pointed out.

"Precisely! You always go straight to the crux of the problem. You're brilliant like that," he told her.

"And you are avoiding the subject, Time boy!" She tried out her glare-of-death, since it had been a while since she had properly used it.

He suddenly went into a trance-like state. "We're heading towards London on an express train pulled by an LMS Coronation Class engine. Why does this feel so familiar?" he asked her.

"Thomas the Tank Engine?" she offered as explanation.

He looked shocked. "We need to get out of here. And I mean right now!" He grabbed hold of her hand and started to hastily drag her out of the toilet.

"Why, Doctor? Tell me why!" she demanded as he raced her towards the TARDIS.

"Because we're coming up to Harrow!" he yelled at her.

"But Harrow isn't such a bad place. A bit snobby, admittedly," she reasoned. "Why should I be worried?"

It was on his lips to tell her that the train they were on was about to plough into the back of one train and be hit by another, causing over a hundred fatalities; but he didn't get the chance. The impact threw them apart as the express train hit a local train standing in Harrow and Wealdstone Station.

If Donna hadn't been flung and hit into unconsciousness the sound alone would have deafened her. Her last thought as she slipped into blackness was to wonder why the hell she flew through the air and against the window. Fortunately she didn't see the carriage they had been travelling in crumple like an empty egg box. Neither she nor the Doctor felt the second impact as a third train hit and travelled along the platform, wiping out the station footbridge and several passengers in the process.

There was carnage everywhere when the dust settled and the screams began. The Doctor woke lying by the track, battered, bleeding but relatively uninjured. To his horror Donna was nowhere to be found. Managing to pick himself up, he stood and tried to calculate where she could be. His answer lay in the mangled wreck that had once been their carriage. Stumbling slightly he made for the twisted mass of wood and metal. "Donna! DONNA!" he screamed out; but got no reply.

He found a woman in the wreckage, hanging onto life by a thread; so he helped dig her out and handed down her body to willing hands as people raced forward to help. Again he cried out for Donna in desperation.

"Who you looking for, mate?" a man asked him as he too climbed onto the wreckage.

"My Donna! I can't find my Donna!" the Doctor told him, agitatedly tugging at his hair as he contemplated the skewed door and window frames before him.

The two of them dug out the body of a man and then hauled out a badly injured boy, who was whisked away on a stretcher. "'Ere, mate! Are you sure she was in this carriage?" the man asked him as he pulled apart pieces of debris.

"Yes! She had been…" The Doctor pointed aimlessly below him, trying not to panic.

The other man moved a particularly awkward piece and revealed the hand of a woman. A hand that was adorned by a distinctive ring. "Donna!" the Doctor cried out in relief and fear.

All she was aware of was a hand firmly grasping hers. There was no sound, no light, no anything! Just the hand, steady as a rock.

Then the pain set in, crushing her chest and forcing her to breathe in shallow pants. She began to wonder if there'd ever been anything other than this pain. She couldn't remember. She couldn't even remember her name, where she was or why she was there. All she knew was the hand.

And then she knew nothing.

"What's going on?" a policeman asked the man who had been assisting the Doctor.

"'E was looking for 'is wife, and then we found 'er; but 'e won't let go of 'er for love nor money!" the man explained to the officer. "I think there might be some more in 'ere."

So the policeman and the man continued their search while the Doctor grasped Donna's listless form to him as closely as possible. "I'm sorry, Donna… so sorry," he mumbled continuously to her.

The policeman made his way over to the Doctor and tapped him on the shoulder. "You want to get her down to the first aiders, sir," the policeman told the Doctor kindly after some minutes.

"Yes, thank you, officer," the Doctor replied wetly. He hauled himself and Donna into a standing position and climbed down off the carriage without bumping her as much as possible. Fortunately the carriage holding the TARDIS was still standing upright, so he slowly made his way towards it. "Almost there, Donna. We'll soon be home."

The rescuers who watched his progress thought he had totally lost it. Grief did that to people, and they'd all seen plenty of it when the war was on; so they left him alone to mourn his wife. That's what they thought, anyway.

Making sure no-one was paying particular attention, the Doctor clicked his fingers and staggered through the doors into the TARDIS with great relief. Just a few more steps and Donna would be safely in the med bay, he told himself.

Several monitors whirled into being as he laid her down on the examination bed. She looked so pale and surreal as she lay there. He wiped a hand across her brow, just to sweep her hair out of her face, he thought; although his true intention was to ascertain for himself whether or not she was alive. He was too pessimistic to believe the readings that were being fed to him.

"Healing pod activating!" a disembodied voice announced as a transparent shell manifested around Donna, encasing her within.

"Donna!" the Doctor cried out in desperation, and banged on the casing as his need to hold her was scuppered. She winced inside, and he sincerely hoped it was a reaction to his pain rather than her own. With that in mind, he eased himself away and sat himself down quietly. It seemed to work, so he satisfied himself by watching her like a hawk as she slept on.

Several hours passed by, but the readings on the monitors improved, suggesting that her broken ribs were healing, that her cuts were not so aggressive, and that her concussion was being fought.

He knew he should have gone back out there to help other people, but this was a fixed point in time; there was nothing else he could do. Had it been any different he would have seen the timelines. As it was, he didn't want to leave Donna's side so the point was mute. She was the centre of his universe for now, and he could think of nothing else.

All those people who kept referring to her as his wife! It was getting beyond a joke. Okay, perhaps he had stopped correcting the mistake; it was a harmless assumption after all. And he had begun to quite like it, truth be told. Not that he would readily admit that to Donna. It was nice to be part of an 'us' again; to be part of something akin to when he still had a wife. It certainly felt similar most of the time.

Finally the healing pod announced it was deactivating, and it slid away from Donna. He eagerly leaned forward to tenderly touch her; first her hand, and then her face. "Almost good as new, Donna," he whispered to her, and wiped away the tear that had unaccountably appeared on his cheek. It was so good to see a speck of colour in her cheeks again.

"When you are feeling better, we'll have a little trip to somewhere nice. I'll find you that beach you keep asking me for. I promise! And we'll go and see your mum and grandfather. They must be missing you terribly. I've lost you for only a couple of hours in comparison, and it's been unbearable! I can't wait for you to open your eyes and look at me again," he babbled to her prone form. "Apparently we're quite a force to be reckoned with: the Doctor and Donna Noble. Oh! Not that I'm saying my name is Noble, though I admit I did call myself that once several regenerations ago; back in my third, I think. Anyway, where was I…?"

"Talking crap," Donna murmured in a hoarse voice.

"Donna!" he exclaimed with joy. "Are you with me?" he asked, tenderly caressing her cheek with the backs of his fingertips.

"No, I'm with the Woolwich…! Where did you think I was going?" she asked in return as she managed to force her eyes to open. She saw his chocolate brown eyes gazing intensely back into her grey-blue ones. "Hello, Spaceman," she uttered.

"Hello, Earthgirl," he replied, beaming wildly at her. "It's so good to have you back!"

She smiled back at him before she realised where exactly she was in the TARDIS. "What am I doing in here? Was I badly injured? Do I need to worry?"

He hugged her in order to stop her panicking, and helped her to sit up more on the bed. "You were injured in a train crash, suffering broken ribs, concussion and some internal as well as external injuries. But the TARDIS has dealt with all that, and you're almost back to normal. You'll just feel a bit weak for a while," he soothed her.

"How long? How long were you sitting here with me?" she asked in a whisper, still held within his grasp.

He gulped, not knowing how much he should admit. "Not long. A day… or so," he eventually told her.

She squeezed him tighter. "Thank you for caring enough," she told him tearfully.

"Of course I care," he replied. "How could I not?"

"I suppose so. We all care for our pets," she commented.

"Donna, I do not see you as my pet human!" he retorted. "Why do you think that?"

"Well, we're ten a penny, us humans, aren't we? Lose one, go pick up another one. You don't even need to go to a particular store. Just chuck a stone and it'd land on one of us," she said matter of factly.

He pulled back from their embrace to look her right in the eye. "There is only one Donna Noble, and I am looking at her right now. She is the only one I want," he said sincerely.

"As your pet," she stated.

"No!" He shook his head in emphasis. "I want you as my companion in life; as my partner, in crime or anywhere else you fancy."

"You make that sound serious," she said, trying to tease him. "Almost like a wife…" The words fell from her lips as the implication hit her, and she sobered. "But you don't mean that."

"Why are you so sure?" he asked, rubbing his thumb along her jawline. "I might mean just that."

"Why?" she queried, huffing out a sigh. "I'm sure because I'm nothing, just a temp who can't keep a job let alone a man for more than five seconds. I don't have much of an education, I'm rubbish with maps, and to top it all, I'm ginger!"

The Doctor gazed at her incredulously. Did she really still think all those negative things about herself, after all that she had done? "There is a world of difference between learning and understanding, Donna. Your sense of adventure and wanderlust means you don't settle in one place, and who am I to criticise that when I'm the same. As for being ginger, have you forgotten how much I love and adore your hair?"

She smiled knowingly. "I might have noticed some hair envy on your part; but as far as all that other stuff goes, I'm nothing near as good as you are. I must seem like a potato woman in comparison to you. I'm here…" She held up a hand. "And you're here…" She held up her other hand way above it.

He watched her hand movements with obvious puzzlement; and then he reached out to place his hands over hers and gradually brought them to rest together. "No, that's where we are. We're together, for as long as we want to be."

"You want that? But I'm thick!" she pointed out, with a frown.

"Donna, you are brilliant," he insisted, fixing her with a firm stare. "I won't have any arguments to the contrary."

She scoffed at him. "Yeah, so brilliant that when you needed a shock all I could think of was kissing you. I could have just as easily kneed you in the crown jewels."

"First of all, can I say 'thank you' on behalf of me and my crown jewels," he answered her scorn. "And second, I wanted to say the kissing was inspired because I had genuinely expected some violence from you. The kiss was an extremely pleasant surprise."

"It would have been if it had come from someone else," she retorted.

He released his hold on her hands to cup her cheek, and moved forward. "No, Donna. You're still not getting it. I loved that kiss because it was you." He watched in amusement as little furrows appeared on her brow; so he added, "It's been you for a long time now. I almost lost you the other day, and I never want to go through that again."

"Are you trying to say what I think you are?" she asked in wonder.

"Shall we find out?" he asked in return. He waited for an infinitesimal nod from her and he slid nearer to place his lips upon hers. Pressing closer, he moulded his mouth onto hers, tasting her lips as they slightly parted for his exploration. They shared kiss after precious kiss for more than a few minutes. "What do you think now?" he asked her when they paused for breath.

"Can you say that again?" she wondered, getting a chuckle from him. That wasn't all she got; once she'd thanked the TARDIS, of course.