The Doctor held River to his chest. He swallowed hard, and he knew that she was crying. Tears were streaking down her face, for a girl she barely knew. Yet, they had bonded at once, and he had to know that this was going to hurt her.
He kept his gaze away from the glass, wondering what had changed so that none of them could have even held her in her last moments. He looked over at Ten who had Donna in his arms.
Donna was crying, head buried into his chest, but Ten looked calm. Not happy, and he kept his eyes far from the view that would make him look at Emily, but he seemed calm.
Nine was still watching, keeping a vigil. He hadn't said a word, or moved from that spot, since it had happened. He was the most broken version in this room, but he was the only one with the strength to watch.
The only one who had the courage to look at her, after she sacrificed everything for the universe. So long ago, the universe had taken Donna from him, and he had found a way to move on. Though maybe not as well as he remembered it seemed.
He looked at Ten again, wishing that that stupid thing he couldn't decide if it was good or bad, was real. Had Ten done something so desperate in his love for Donna? Something that had made Emily just as much theirs as she was Donna.
Did the girl without a father have one after all?
He made a decision. And it might cost them their lives as well, but he didn't think there was a body in this room that would fight him. All together- no one left standing on their own.
He let go of River, as gently as he could.
And he moved to Nine, and said, "Filter the air, we are getting her out."
Nine said, "There is a two hour filtering process before the virus is neutral." He might have been protesting but he was already moving into action.
Ten looked up at him, and he could see the strength in his eyes.
The Doctor said to him, "Tell me I'm wrong and we won't do it."
"You aren't wrong."
The Doctor needed nothing more, and jumped into action himself.
"Wrong about what?" Donna asked, pulling away from Ten.
"It's complicated, Donna," Ten said. "I'll explain when we get her out."
Donna nodded, and said, "Okay, tell me what to do."
Ten told her to give the Daleks a fresh dose of confusion, and she went to work. The others went about speeding up the filtering process of the room.
For the first time, the Doctor looked in on the two bodies on the ground. Was it foolish to think that he saw her chest rise and fall? He didn't think he was imagining it, but he might have been.
Even if he was right, then she was still dying. But maybe that would be okay.
Maybe like with Donna, it was the dying that brought life.
With three genius minds, they had the room filtered and safe enough within minutes. The lights inside the room stopped flashing, and they heard the door lock disengage.
Ten looked at the others and said, "Let me please."
They nodded. He went to the door, and walked into the room, passing through all the doors that kept them separated. They all watched through the glass, and he squatted down. The Doctor could see him pull her onto his lap.
All they could do at this point was let her die. Donna was watching, and she had to know something, even if she wasn't sure what it was. They could hear Ten in there.
He said, "Go on, love. Let go, and I'll be right here to catch you."
They waited saw a ripple go through her time line. It flashed, and simply blinked out. Donna was crying again, but she stayed where she was.
"Come on," the Doctor whispered.
He thought they all three might have said the same things at once. Donna was begging, he could hear it low and steady.
After a long pause, they heard the Doctor shuffling. Then he was carrying her out of the room, and towards the TARDIS. He didn't stop for anyone, but Donna rushed to him, and they walked into the TARDIS.
The others followed them, leaving and entering the vortex.
Then they were in the med- bay with one lifeless body laying on a table that seemed too big for her. This wasn't right; the Doctor could feel himself tugging on his hair. River was watching him, eyes hopeful but cautious.
She had to come back, she had to.
Nine exploded and said, "You couldn't even do it right. You had to mess with stuff you shouldn't touch, and you couldn't even save her."
He punched Ten in the face, and Ten just took it. He looked defeated.
If this didn't work, Ten was going to have to wipe his memories just to survive. Maybe that was why there were no memories.
He didn't have the details, and he would have to get them, but he knew that Emily was their daughter.
Then there was a memory. It was broken, and he didn't know if it would ever not be that way, but it was enough. There was a beauty in his arms, and whispers.
A pregnancy test that said positive- and the Doctor explaining to Donna what he had done. Donna was close to burning in that moment and she begged him to save her and her baby.
So the Doctor did, and then he injected Donna with something he had worked hard to make. He put a time lock on their child's genes.
He gave her a normal life, with a normal mother, but he had remembered this day.
The time lock was meant to expire when she died. It should have been impossible to do it, but even this Doctor understood why it had been done. And a lot of times the impossible could be defeated by desperation.
Ten was bleeding from his lip, and Nine was fuming, but they were all waiting on the impossible. Waiting for a glow to surround her, and for her to emerge from that as a Time Lady.
It was hours before they sat, but none of them left that room. Donna alternated glaring at Ten and hugging him.
Then there was a flicker behind his eyes, and there was that same timeline, only glowing instead of bland. From the bed a golden light was exhaled and then it surrounded her. Her body arched off the bed, and they all stood.
It seemed like forever, but at long last the light cleared, and she lay there. She looked the same, too much like her mother to change.
She sat up, looked around at them, and then she smiled.