A/N: is this the end? I am so sorry for the enormous delay but my muse was distracted elsewhere; so the plot holes might be a bit more obvious.
Part 12: The Last Kiss
They had gone straight t Productions, expecting to find Harry; and they had, sort of. In the sanctuary of Harry's office they found a transmat covered in some sort of goo. The Doctor waved his sonic screwdriver over it and then frowned.
"Well, Doctor? Can you tell us where the Master has gone?" Jack eagerly asked. He was keen to get his chance to beat the living hell of the renegade Time Lord.
"Come on, Spaceman!" Donna chided him when he seemed reticent to say anything. "Spit it out!"
The Doctor peered at the readings on his sonic again. "The transmat has definitely been used recently. I'd say within ten minutes of us arriving here which means that the Master did teleport her and then out again."
"So? What's the problem?" Jack encouraged.
The Doctor dipped down and cautiously pressed a finger into the goo, bringing up the tip to smell. "He's been taken; probably by a Judoon judging by this. Either that or he's become a sherbet fountain."
"Judoon? Is that good or bad?" Donna queried.
"That's good, Mum," James commented from behind her. "It means he's been arrested."
The Doctor sadly looked at him. "And executed," he added. "They would have plenty of crimes on their arrest sheet to warrant that."
"For that to happen, someone here on Earth would have had to report him to the Shadow Proclamation," Jack argued. "I haven't done so, so how did they know?"
The Doctor gazed at all his companions in the room and carefully considered this question. "I'm sure that can easily be explained by a disgruntled alien; can't it, Catherine!" It gained the startled reaction he had been hoping for from Catherine. "Did you honestly think I wouldn't know what you are and what you might do? As soon as James went missing I knew you were responsible. It's what your species do, after all."
"I didn't do anything," Catherine protested. "Honest I didn't!"
"Really? Next you'll be telling me that Jack persuaded you to come into the TARDIS rather than the other way round. Nice play with the pheromones by the way. Impressive even. What did the Master promise you when you rescued his ring? Eternal life was it?" he pondered.
Catherine hesitated before answering, "He promised he wouldn't harm my family. They're being held in the basement o Productions here. Please, Doctor! I really like James; he's lovely and I meant him no harm." She turned to give James an imploring look; but he had already backed well away from her as though she was contaminated. "All I tried to do was fit in and live like a human."
"Except that isn't easy," the Doctor added sympathetically.
Donna was clutching James protectively by then. "What is she? Can she cause us any harm?"
"No," the Doctor consoled her. "Catherine is an Augustain; she can emit pheromones in a way similar to Jack here, but it comes out more like a Jedi mind trick."
James touched his lips as he gazed in shock at Catherine. "Then she…"
"Yes, she led you into the Master's path," the Doctor confirmed.
"But… why?" James wondered in his confusion.
"Because the Master does things for fun," Jack supplied. "He likes to induce fear, and take what he wants."
Seeing James' bewilderment and shocked relief, Donna instantly hugged him. "So you reported him," she remarked to Catherine.
"As soon as I could, when I was parted from James and thrown into a storage room. I couldn't stand the thought of him being tortured too. I'm sorry, Jack, but I borrowed your vortex manipulator to do redirect the message." Catherine then gingerly held out Jack's precious vortex manipulator to him. He greedily took it back.
They easily found Catherine's parents incarcerated below OHG Productions; providing a very happy and relieved family reunion. And then they were on their way. Several minutes later Donna was surprised to find herself being dropped off outside her mother's house with James but not much of an explanation.
"Tell me, have I got this right? Are you walking away and leaving us?" Donna asked the Doctor, shocked that he could still consider doing so.
"I have to return Catherine back to Torchwood, sort out some immigration stuff for her family and then… I don't know. Get back to normality," he replied.
She felt her heart sink to her boots. The last few days had meant nothing to him at all, it would seem. "Don't forget that you promised James a trip," she softly reminded him. "You need someone with you."
"I'll be back soon," he promised. "Bye for now."
As he made his way to the console he overheard Catherine's mother ask her, "Who is the lady with the red hair?"
"She's the Doctor's Donna," was the low reply. "They have a son but they broke up for some reason. It's sad really because he loves her and she's mad about him."
"What's stopping them get together?" her mother quietly queried.
"I don't know. Perhaps they aren't allowed to be together? I thought it was some sort of argument before all this but… It doesn't make sense."
"Unless he doesn't really want her? Such a shame when children are involved."
The Doctor was left wondering how he could defend himself without revealing he had heard their whispered conversation. "Here we are!" he announced as they landed. "Torchwood and the tender care of Jack Harkness."
Jack tried to entice him to stay longer, but the Doctor had other plans. Had he been stupid for walking away from Donna? Was he allowed to hope in this way? There was only one way to find out. And involved asking the question within his hearts.
The landing in Sylvia's back garden was smoother and suitably away from her patio doors this time. There was an excitement in the air; the TARDIS was almost buzzing with it. With renewed vigour the Doctor stepped out and strode up to the door.
It was Wilf who answered the door to him. "Doctor! Come in, lad. It's lovely to see you again," Wilf greeted him, adding in a hug for good measure. "Look who's here!" he called out to the rest of the house.
There were fervent footsteps on the stairs and then James appeared at full pelt. "Dad!" he called out. "You came back!"
"Of course I came back for you," the Doctor almost scoffed. He then held out his arms. "Don't I get hugs anymore?"
James smiled broadly and launched himself at him, wrapping his arms around his father. Wilf wiped a manly tear away before turning politely away. "Tea anyone?" he asked.
"Yes please," both the Doctor and James replied, still holding tightly to each other.
"Where's your mother?" the Doctor then whispered to James.
"Upstairs drying her hair," he answered. "I don't think she heard you come in."
"Then I'd better go and surprise her," the Doctor replied, releasing his hold; and they exchanged a knowing look.
Double checking that Sylvia wasn't hovering in the vicinity, he bounded up the stairs two steps at a time and tapped lightly on Donna's bedroom door. There was the sound a hairdryer turning off, followed by hasty movement on the other side and then the door was wrenched angrily open.
"For the last time I have not got your bloody…," Donna blazed until she caught sight of the Doctor standing there, and all her fire fizzled away.
He thought she looked magnificent as she stood there in her dressing gown tied loosely around her body and her hair still hanging damply around her head. She self-consciously touched some strands as she realised that she probably looked a sight in her naked non-made-up state. What she didn't know was that the Doctor was rather keen on seeing her pale freckly skin and natural beauty.
"Hello Donna," he said.
"You came back," she said incredulously. "I thought you were gone for good."
He peeked behind her shoulder and remarked, "Is that why your bear has been thrown at the wall?"
She peered behind her and blushed. "He did sort of get the blame," she admitted. "I'll go pick him up."
Leaving the door open in invitation, she made her way over to the assaulted green bear and picked him up off the floor; getting him a friendly smooth and pat down as she replaced him on the bed.
He shut the door gently and joined her by the bed, taking her hand as he did so. "I'm sorry," he softly told her. "I shouldn't have let you walk away from me in the first place. I've been an idiot to let you go."
She trembled. "What are you saying?"
He caressed her cheek, running his fingertips delicately along her cheekbone. "Oh Donna. Do you not know after all this time? I want you to spend the rest of your life with me. I want to wake up every morning with you by my side, and go to bed with you every night. I can't think about anything but you; everything in my life leads to my need for you."
"So you're asking me to be your permanent companion? I offered that before and you broke my heart. I'm not sure…"
He could feel this moment possibly slipping away from him and he had to let her know before it was too late. "Would it make a difference if you knew I love you?"
"I don't know; it might. Do you?"
"Do I what?" he asked somewhat distractedly. Well, he had embedded a hand within her long tresses and was ghosting his lips over hers.
"Do you love me, you prawn?" she murmured.
"There's only one way to answer that," he responded to her plea. Of course that was when he kissed her, with soft kisses that slowly grew to open mouth kisses, deepening to smoothing his tongue over hers, tasting and drinking her in as she eagerly reciprocated his every action.
There was a yell of "He's where?" from outside the bedroom that finally caused them to release each other.
"I should get some clothes on," Donna stated.
He ran a finger down the lapel of her dressing gown, "I quite like the naked look; especially on you."
She softly chuckled. "I'm sure that argument would work on Mum."
"I'd rather it worked on my wife."
She gawped at him. "Did you just say what I thought you said?"
He nuzzled into her neck. "I was going to leave that question until later, when we've resumed this conversation in the TARDIS, but will you? Will you marry me? Properly this time; and I'm certainly not counting that time on Ikenyu."
"Yes!" She guided his mouth back to hers, kissing him as passionately as she could as she poured her love for him into it.
"I see! Like father like son! You just couldn't keep your hands off her!"
They broke apart to see Sylvia glaring back at them through the open bedroom doorway; James stood anxiously next to her on the landing, almost jigging in his agitation.
The Doctor reached across, grabbed hold of the door handle, and said to Sylvia very firmly as he shut it, "Excuse me, but this is none of your business. We have more pressing matters to worry about."
There was an audible gasp of shock from outside.
"Did you just…?" Donna was completely confounded.
He grinned smugly back at her as he returned to their embrace. "Yes, I did just put my hands back on you. Now what were you saying?" With that he resumed their kiss and forced her to topple over onto the bed with a laugh.
"Why do I get the feeling that you are still avoiding having that meal with my mum?" Donna wondered.
"Don't worry," he consoled her. "She has our sons held hostage to prevent me running away."
"Sons? We only have the one," she reminded him.
"Ah, about that." He suddenly looked sheepish. "There's something else we need to discuss in the near future…"